Planning and Community Health Center


Community design directly effects human health. Development patterns, zoning, and land use impact walkability and transportation options, access to services, the availability of healthy foods, and vulnerability to hazards.

Planners can help create places that offer choices for everyone to be healthy and safe.

APA's Planning and Community Health Center provides tools and technical support to members so they can integrate health into planning practice at all levels. Areas of focus include active living, healthy eating, and health in all planning policies. We implement our aims through applied research, place-based investment, and education.

Featured Resources

Promote Healthy Communities — A Joint Call to Action

The Joint Call to Action to Promote Healthy Communities brings together eight national organizations calling upon members to collaborate with one another to create healthier, more equitable communities.

Health Impact Assessment in Planning

Three new resources summarize the benefits of conducting health impact assessments in planning and provide guidance on how to do it.

What We're Working On


Through an overarching collaborative strategy that brings APA members together with members of the American Public Health Association (APHA), Plan4Health builds local capacity to address health goals using planning strategies. Coalitions made up of APA chapters, APHA affiliate groups, and others are working to set a new paradigm for healthy planning and address tough problems by leveraging complementary expertise and influence.


Based on the successes and lessons learned from Plan4Health, the Planning and Community Health Center has established a new initiative to build the capacity of APA chapters to make health a chapter priority.

Capacity Building for Planners to Address Health

This project will develop technical tools, educational resources, and professional development guidance that enhances opportunities to pursue health-oriented planning.

Growing Food Connections

In partnership with the University of Buffalo, this project targets urban and rural communities across the US that are significantly underserved by the nation's food system. With APA's support, the project is developing research-supported policy tools and trainings to help local governments reconnect vulnerable consumers living in food deserts with local farmers.

Essential Info Packet: Planning & Zoning for Health in the Built Environment

This new resource offers how-to guidance on integrating health into policies and regulations that help shape the built environment. It is available for free thanks to support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Completed Projects

Benefits of Street Scale Features for Walking and Biking

Planning for Public Health

Healthy Communities through Collaboration

Planning for Food Access

Arts, Culture & Creativity

Urban Agriculture

Complete Streets


Community Health Blog Posts