Healthy Planning: An Evaluation of Comprehensive and Sustainability Plans Addressing Public Health



The purpose of this study is to set a framework and identify tools and strategies for integrating public health-related goals and policies into the planmaking process. To date, some research has been done that evaluates the extent to which public health has been addressed in comprehensive plans, but there has been little work to assess if such policies were supported by implementation mechanisms, indicators or other benchmarks for success, time lines, or funding.

In 2010, APA initiated a multiphase research study to identify local planning responses to important health issues and examine how comprehensive and sustainability plans can promote long-term community health. The specific purpose of the study is to set a framework to identify tools and strategies for integrating public health-related goals and policies into the plan-making process.

This report will detail the results and analysis of an evaluation of 18 comprehensive and four sustainability plans from communities across the United States to assess the extent to which they included health goals, policies, and implementation mechanisms. It will also present examples of robust policies that promote public health.


Page Count
Date Published
Sept. 1, 2012
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

Table of Contents


Planning and Public Health
Role of the American Planning Association

Project Purpose and Background
Project Background

Plan Selection
Construction of Evaluation Tool

Broad Public Health and Planning Issues
Plan Strengths
Plan Weaknesses
Top Plans in Each Topic Area
Discussion — State of the Practice

Examples of Robust Public Health Policy
Active Living
Emergency Preparedness
Environmental Exposures
Food and Nutrition
Health and Human Services Policies
Social Cohesion and Mental Health
Next Steps

Evaluated Plans
Comprehensive Plans
Sustainability Plans

Appendix 1
Appendix 2 Brief Summary of Other Work Evaluating Healthy Planning