One of the most ambitious healthy planning initiatives in the State of California recently received some attention from the New York Times. I am working on the City of Richmond, California's Health and Wellness Element - - a section of their General Plan Update that focuses on integrating population health into all city and county planning and policy decisions. The NY Times article is entitled "Richmond's New Priority: Taking Health Seriously." I've reproduced the first page of the article and Health and Wellness Element here:
While the article mentions the aims of walkability and urban design, the focus is on health equity: improving the quality of life and health outcomes for the poorest and least well-off groups in Richmond. The Health Element will act as the 'public health blueprint' for the City, Contra Costa County Health Services, and a host of other public, private and non-profit groups working in Richmond for the next 10 to 20 years.
While the General Plan and Health Element are yet to be adopted by the City Council, work has already begun on an implementation strategy - - a glaring omission of many comprehensive plans that tend to just sit on a shelf. The California Endowment is actively supporting the implementation and a related 10-year Healthy Richmond project. These are major changes in both the world of urban planning and health philanthropy, and represent one of the best examples to date of healthy urban planning in the United States.
This work could set the framework for the State of California's recent declaration and commitment to Health in all Policies, by the State's Strategic Growth Council. Yet another example of California's commitment to formally link the work of urban planning, health, climate change and community development.