Town planners embrace health

27 Jul 2016

The professional association for town planners has committed to building healthier communities that facilitate walking.

The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) has confirmed its commitment with a Position Statement on Planning for Healthy Communities.

The Statement says:

“PIA members are keen to raise the bar in both new developments and redevelopment projects that create the physical spaces and opportunities that enable healthy communities to thrive.”

To achieve this, the Institute recognises the need, amongst other things, to:

“Facilitate an increased proportion of journeys by active transport (such as cycling and walking) to improve both physical activity levels and create a more sustainable environment”.

In recent decades we have designed physical activity out of our daily lives, including suburbs that are built for cars.  Walking to everyday activities in newer suburbs is typically difficult or inconvenient.  So it is encouraging to see the planning industry recognise the need for change.

The Institute’s Statement also suggests that Planning Ministers across Australia should be “encouraged to take on a leadership role within government to advocate the economic, social and environmental benefits of planning for healthy communities.”

The Planning Institute’s support for designing healthy communities is not new – it has previously supported the Healthy Places and Spaces policy, for example.  But it is great to see town planners recommit to the idea of designing towns and cities for a healthier future.