Synergies in Public Health and Planning

Professionals in planning and public health have a lot more in common than one might think.

green infrastructure, parks, walkability, community health, community planning, sustainable communities


Danielle Capozzi


Marguerite Anglin


Brittany Coyle

The planning profession grew in the late 19th century as a response to serious public health issues such as contagious disease from poor air and water quality, harmful sanitary conditions, and lack of access to open space. In the modern context, public health concerns rest on nutrition, obesity, and chronic diseases related to environmental quality. These shared issues underscore the need for collaboration in public health and planning.

Evidence-based data shows that healthy, well-planned communities have positive behavioral, social, and physical impacts.


Livable neighborhoods that implement sustainable best practices such as parks, complete streets, and green stormwater infrastructure can increase physical activity and access to healthy food. They can improve air and water quality and minimize the effects of climate change and mental health stresses. Additionally, these sustainable practices strengthen the social fabric of a community by providing fair access to livelihood, education, and resources. It’s a win-win!

The tremendous strides public health professionals and planners are making to join forces on these common goals is ever expanding. For example, WRT’s planners have established strategic partnerships with professionals at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Public Health Association. Together, we are collaborating on health initiatives and addressing national audiences to raise awareness about the powerful nexus of public health and planning.

For more info on planning for public health, visit APA's site.