Inclusive Healthy Places Report

This report produced by the Gehl Institute in 2018, focuses on the close relationship between the environment and how healthy we are as individuals and communities. It provides an 'Inclusive Healthy Places Framework’ to enable the creation and evaluation of healthy and inclusive public places that support health equity. It is underpinned by four key guiding principles: context, process, design and program, and sustain, which are explained in the report with case study examples.

Date added 10 November 2020
Last updated 10 November 2020

This comprehensive report produced by the Gehl Institute in 2018, focuses on the close relationship between the environment and how healthy we are as individuals and communities. As the authors note (p.5):

“Place is integral to health. Our everyday environments play a fundamental role in shaping how healthy we are, as individuals and as communities. Where we live, work, and play has a lot to do with why some people are healthier than others, and can have a key role in determining why some people are not as healthy as they otherwise could be”.

The report provides an ‘Inclusive Healthy Places Framework’ to enable the creation and evaluation of healthy and inclusive public spaces. It foregrounds the importance of creating inclusive places – seeing inclusion as an outcome (all people feel welcomed and safe), process (all community members involved in shaping public spaces), and a tool (to reduce health inequalities). This, as the report outlines, can have benefits for the local community, such as places being accessible and welcoming to all, reflecting shared social values, and promoting vibrant and diverse social interaction. However, the authors stress that it is a flexible framework, that different places can adapt for their own requirements to leverage health equality in that locale’s public spaces. The report highlights that the framework will be of particular use to built environment practitioners, public health practitioners and policy makers, community and place leaders, and engaged residents and community members. There are four guiding principles underpinning the framework, which the report provides case study examples, key metrics and indicators for, as summarised below.

Four guiding principles of inclusive healthy places

 1. Context

Understanding the local context is key, including local community demographics, existing socio-economic conditions, assets such as housing, and lived experiences of public spaces. Baseline data and evidence is key.

 2. Process

Civic trust, citizen participation, and social capital should be promoted and feature in any processes that shape public spaces.

 3. Design and program

Public spaces should be designed and programmed to enhance health equity, through improving things like safety, access, and diversity.

 4. Sustain

It is important that the resilience and capacity of the local community is enhanced through promoting ongoing representation and social cohesion, to sustain healthy and inclusive places over time.