Planning and Community Health Center Webinar Series

APA's Planning and Community Health Center facilitates webinars that share research, case studies, and resources focused on built environment interventions that promote community health. The webinar series touches on a variety of topics related to planning and public health, including strategies to advance active living, healthy eating, and cross-sector and community collaborations.

Health Benefits of Green Infrastructure

Communities across the country can use green infrastructure to promote individual and community health. Featuring three eminent green infrastructure practitioners and researchers, this webinar will discuss the varying health benefits of green infrastructure and how to incorporate health considerations into green infrastructure plans and projects. Speakers from the American Planning Association, AECOM, and the University of Washington will provide an overview of promoting health through green infrastructure, identify the design elements that lead to health-promoting activities, and discuss the connection between nature and mental health benefits.

David Rouse, AICP, ASLA, LEED AP
Ignacio Bunster-Osso, FASLA, LEED AP
Kathleen Wolf, PhD

Safe Routes to Parks in Your Community

Safe Routes to Parks is an emerging concept to increase park access through a systems approach. Today, ensuring access to green space for all people is a value that should be shared by every resident, community group, and government official, including planners. The capacity of planners to write plans and influence policy uniquely positions the profession to facilitate safe access to parks and green space while supporting all users, including children, the elderly, and those with physical disabilities. This webinar discussed Safe Routes to Parks, the role of planners, and some planning strategies to improve access to parks in your community.

Building Bridges Towards Healthy Transportation

This webinar discussed the connection between transportation and health and gave insight into the specific process one community used to fund programs and how the programs are implemented from start to finish. It also highlighted how advocacy and community organizing are used to move projects forward.

CDC's Community Guide: Improving the Science of Built Environment and Public Health for Physical Activity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) rigorously vetted Community Guide provides evidence-based interventions and recommendations for addressing public health challenges and chronic disease factors. Historically, however, the Guide has included very little on one of the greatest community features that determines health: the built environment — but, recently, that has been changing. In this webinar, participants will hear about new updates to the Community Guide that focus specifically on built environment factors to improve physical activity, and hear some examples of how to implement such interventions at the local level.

Tools for Building Bridges Toward Better Health

Newly developed tools are generating innovative solutions in communities across the country by guiding planners, architects and public officials as they assess, forecast and create healthy places. In this webinar, a panel of professional and academic leaders discussed emerging tools for building bridges toward better health through the built environment.

Promoting Health Through the Planning Process

Comprehensive plans and the planning process are critical for utilizing land use and development patterns to influence positive health outcomes and promote chronic disease prevention. This webinar will focus on how the planning process can be used to develop and implement innovative plans focused on health, partnerships, and quality of life. Representatives from Philadelphia and Austin will discuss how each has utilized the planning process to deepen public engagement and build partnerships to create innovative plans that prominently feature health data and language.

View slides (pdf)

Collaborating to Improve Public Health

An overview of planning's role in promoting public health, focused on policies, systems, and environmental approaches that planners can use now. Get information to help you prepare for APA's upcoming RFP for grant-supported coalitions with public health professionals.

The Role of Parks and Recreation in Planning for Health

Park and recreation departments have many roles to play in promoting public health, active living, and community development. Increasingly, planners, park departments, and public health professionals are working together to improve park and recreation facilities through smart planning and creative funding streams. In this webinar, representatives from urban park systems in Los Angeles and Miami will discuss innovations they are making in planning parks for health, and how their approach can lead to successes in your community. The session will offer advanced training for professionals from planning, health, and parks and recreation.

View slides (pdf)

Creating a Fit Nation: Tips and Tools from New York City's Active Design Guidelines

New York City's award-winning Active Design Guidelines offer examples and illustrations of design strategies that promote active living. Utilizing these guidelines for architecture, urban design, and planning can lead to increased active transportation, improved social cohesion, and a healthier population. The authors of the Active Design Guidelines will discuss its creation, share examples of its implementation, and offer suggestions for how you can begin to implement actions to promote health in your building, block, or neighborhood.

View slides (pdf)

Making a Plan: Partnerships for Transforming Community Health through City Planning

Successful partnerships are at the core of both public health and planning practice. With the right partners at the table, more change can happen faster and with greater satisfaction for communities. But how do we get planners to work with public health professionals? One answer: it takes leadership at the highest level. In this webinar, Planning Directors and Health Commissioners from Austin, Texas, and Baltimore pair up to discuss how they are building bridges between their departments and working to transform their approach to complex problems like chronic disease. The audience learns about how the Community Transformation Grant program has supported and encouraged these efforts in Austin, while in Baltimore, the city's mayor has pushed inter-departmental partnerships. This webinar was offered jointly by the American Planning Association and the American Public Health Association.

Philip Huang's presentation (pdf)

Carol Haywood's presentation (pdf)

Oxiris Barbot and Tom Stosur's presentation (pdf)

Healthy Communities: Neighborhood Planning through a Health Equity Lens

The Community Transformation Grant program creates healthier communities by making healthy living easier and more affordable where people work, live, learn, and play. Communities are encouraged to make structural changes to the built environment and establish policies that facilitate healthier living through the development and implementation of initiatives that prevent chronic diseases. This approach is particularly critical in communities with the greatest health and economic disparities. This webinar featured stories of successful collaboration between public health and planning in Seattle and Fort Worth, Texas, and demonstrated the positive impact attention to health equity has in neighborhood planning.

Beth Althshuler's Presentation (pdf)

David Goldberg's Presentation (pdf)

Eric Fladager's Presentation (pdf)

Lou Brewer's Presentation (pdf)

Healthy Communities Webinar Series

With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity and in collaboration with APA's Healthy Communities Interest Group, the Planning and Community Health Research Center is developing a series of six webinars that will focus on the role of planning in creating healthy communities that support physical, social and mental well-being.

Planning and Implementing the Active Community Webinar

February 25, 2011

Obesity and associated chronic disease are not only the result of interactions between genetic and behavioral factors, but also the result of the built and natural environments. From our buildings, parks and recreation areas, to our transportation infrastructure and location of community facilities and services, our built environment impacts the physical activity behaviors of children, adolescents and adults.

This advanced webinar focused on the following four organization's distinct efforts to prioritize active transportation above other modes of travel, improve opportunities for pedestrian and bicycling activities, and support active living:


Kimberley Hodgson, AICP, manager of APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center

Speakers & Presentations

Leslie A. Meehan, AICP, Senior Transportation Planner, Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization: "Incorporating Health in Regional Transportation Planning"

James Dills, Health Impact Assessment Coordinator, Nashville Metro Health Department: "Planning and Implementing the Active Community"

Carol Maclennan, Environmental Health Policy Coordinator, Tri- County Health Department: "Planning and Implementing the Active Community"

Parry W. Burnap, Executive Director, Denver Bike Sharing: "Denver Bike Sharing 501(c)(3)"

Planning for Food Access and the Regional Food System Webinar

April 29, 2011

Like air, water, and shelter, food is essential for life and plays a central role in our health, economy, and culture. Healthy, sustainable communities require healthy, sustainable food systems. From preserving small scale agriculture to ensuring everyone has access to healthy, affordable foods, planners play an important role in supporting vibrant, place-based local and regional food systems.

This advanced webinar explored how Philadelphia and the greater Philadelphia region are planning for food access and the greater food system. Learn about the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission's new food system study and plan and the City of Philadelphia's food access mapping strategies and comprehensive plan update.


Kimberley Hodgson, AICP, manager of APA's Planning and Community Health Research Center

Speakers & Presentations

Alison Hastings, Senior Environmental Planner at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission: 'Planning for Greater Philadelphia's Food System' (pdf)

Amanda Wagner, Philadelphia's Food Policy Coordinator: 'Get Healthy Philly' (pdf)

Clint Randall, Philadelphia's Healthy Communities Coordinator: 'Get Healthy Philly' (pdf)


For more information about how draft and adopted comprehensive plans across the country are integrating food access, check out APA's new report Comprehensive Planning for Public Health.

Comprehensive Planning for Public Health (pdf)