Zoning to Promote Health and Physical Activity

Zoning Practice — June 2004

By Marya Morris, FAICP


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In the mid-1990s, public health experts began to focus their attention on the extent to which the built environment can either help or hinder the public's ability to become or stay healthy. While the recent flurry of media and professional attention paid to the planning and public health connection may make the issue seem new, the two disciplines have a long shared history.

Today, the health focus on zoning and subdivision regulations (and the plans that support them) is aimed at understanding the impacts of the regulations and the actions necessary to mitigate the negative effects on today's predominant health problems, which include obesity and overweight, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

This issue of Zoning Practice discusses how zoning can support health and physical activity by encouraging or requiring pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly infrastructure and development patterns.


Page Count
Date Published
June 1, 2004
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Marya Morris, FAICP
Marya Morris is a self employed planning and zoning consultant based in Wilmette, Illinois. She is also a freelance writer and editor and has authored nine Planning Advisory Service Reports, the most recent of which is Design Review, co-authored with Mark Henshaw, FAICP, in 2018. She was a member of the Glencoe Plan Commission from 2009-2017..