Putting Health into Place (principles 1-3)

Author NHS England

This report produced by NHS England, advises place stakeholders on the first three principles to deliver in order to support healthier populations: Plan, Assess, Involve. These are part of the Healthy New Towns Programme, which seeks to design healthier built environment, enable strong and connected communities, and provide more integrated health and care services.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

This publication[1] - Putting Health into Place: Principles 1-3 - explains the first three principles NHS England advises place stakeholders to uphold in order to create healthier populations. These three principles - PlanAssessInvolve - are part of the 10 featured in the Healthy New Towns Programme[2]. This programme, launched in 2015, responded to the idea that where we live impacts our health and wellbeing. Working alongside 10 pilot locations (London; Oxford; Oxfordshire; Devon; County Durham; Kent; Runcorn; Cambridgeshire; Hampshire; and Lancashire), it aimed to design healthier built environment, enable strong and connected communities, and provide more integrated health and care services.

Not only has COVID-19 seriously impacted the health of some members of the global population, but, as recent Institute of Place Management (IPM) blog articles[3] have alerted us to, the crisis has also revealed the importance of considering the health of populations in urban planning, particularly with regards to greenspace, which is one of the ‘Top 25 Priorities’ for town centre vitality and viability. This publication can, therefore, assist place leaders to design and manage healthier places, and help them with recovering from the current crisis. As the Post-COVID19 Framework for Recovery adopted by the Task Force suggests, even in the crisis stage most places are currently in, planning for future recovery is needed now.

The three principles for healthier places outlined in this article, alongside illustrative case study examples, can be summarised as follows:


The Healthy New Towns Programme encouraged place stakeholders to work collaboratively to design healthier places, rather than working in silos, as is often the case. The publication advises that shared leadership is established, with a range of stakeholders from the public, private and community sectors engaged early on in the process of healthy place-making. This network should develop joint health statements and goals, and collaboratively work together to embed healthy places into local policies and development plans.


The second principle discussed underlines the importance of collecting and making sense of data to understand what the health needs of the local population are, what assets and services currently exist to address these, and how such provisions might have to adapt to meet the needs of place users. This can be done through mapping exercises. The partnerships formed through meeting the first principle above should then design ways of measuring whether the health needs of the local population have been met through any place-making interventions.


The final principle outlined advises place leaders to engage with local communities throughout the process of creating healthier places, to establish a sense of place ownership. Any development decisions should be collaboratively formed with local residents through community events and workshops, which should include activities such as asset mapping, co-creation of plans, and collaborative formation of visions. 


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[1] NHS England. (2019). “Putting Health into Place: Principles 1-3 Plan, Assess, and Involve”. NHS England. Accessible via: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/phip-1-plan-assess-involve.pdf.

[2] NHS England. (2019). “Putting Health into Place: Executive Summary”. NHS England. Accessible via: https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/phip-executive-summary.pdf.

[3] Kalandides, A. (2020). “The epidemics behind urban planning: The foundations”. IPM Blog. Accessible via: http://blog.placemanagement.org/2020/03/25/the-epidemics-behind-urban-planning1/.