Edited by Jean-Christophe Dissart and Natacha Seigneuret
Chapter 10: The British “Healthy New Towns” initiative: a step towards reuniting planning and health?
This chapter focuses on the link between quality of life, as seen through the lenses of public health, and urban planning. In Great Britain, the National Health Service has drawn attention to the impacts of urban and housing design on lifestyles and health, pointing out the promotion of health and well-being through “place-shaping”. This context has led Britain to take several actions regarding the environmental determinants of health. Drawing on a cross-disciplinary literature review (mainly planning, architecture and social policy), Sadoux and Di Marco reflect on the return of health to public policy. This chapter also makes use of major government publications to show some of the ways in which health-promotion objectives have been translated into urban policy (the Healthy Towns Programme, 2008; the Healthy New Towns Programme, 2015). The aims and the process underpinning these initiatives are summarised, and a case study of one of the pilot projects (Barton in Oxford) is provided. Although this programme is too recent to be evaluated, Sadoux and Di Marco argue that, regardless of the outcome of the ongoing projects, there is a reuniting of health and planning. They point to the current focus on building strong links at the local level to facilitate the pursuit of these actions once the programmes end. As the selected pilot projects are, if not all, mostly new settlements, the difficulty of retrofitting existing urban areas is also underlined.
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