Healthy Community Planning Toolbox

"Healthy communities" are livable, viable and equitable man-made environments built on a balanced foundation of "people (society), prosperity (economy) and planet (environment)".

This toolbox is designed to help planners create healthy communities by integrating health in planning documents. Each community can "right-size" or customize tools to fit their unique community context—needs, aspirations, health priorities, disparities and existing resources. It contains two types of tools: process tools and policy tools. Process tools offer a set of health lens to build healthy and sustainable places under each task/step of the planning process. The policy intervention tools provide samples policies to achieve healthy community outcomes in six priority areas—physical activity, healthy food, safety and injury, placemaking, access to opportunity and natural environment. Logic models are introduced to assist planners identify the right set of tools to yield the intended physical, social and mental health outcomes.

Cities and towns in the County range from large and medium-sized communities served by public transit to small and rural communities. The built form of these communities varies. Some communities are formed around a downtown core, others along a highway or corridor in a more linear form. Larger communities—like Tacoma—have multiple mixed-use nodes identified as the location for future mixed-use growth. The toolbox contains tools cater for various jurisdiction sizes and built forms.

Planning Tools

This toolbox contains two sets of tools for planners to select, modify and apply PLANNING PROCESS TOOLS and POLICY INTERVENTION TOOLS. They are designed to help planners incorporate health into comprehensive planning documents required or encouraged under various policy directives.

The Health Lens

There are at least two ways to wear the health lens when developing or updating planning documents:

  • Integrate health considerations in the planning and decision-making process. This includes expanding public outreach efforts and forming an advisory/steering committee to include underrepresented community members and underserved areas (See Resources below). Planning Process Tools are designed to help jurisdictions define their own approach and scope, incorporate community health priorities and aspirations into the vision statement, and consider health during each step of the process.
  • Introduce policies that can affect changes to health outcomes. Policy Intervention Tools provide sample policies for comprehensive plans and their implementation to achieve healthy community outcomes.

Self-assessment Tool

Use the self-assessment worksheet to direct you to appropriate sets of tools while navigating through the planning process. (See Resources below)