Taking Health Into Account

Do you know the effect your spiffy new development will have on the neighbors’ health? Aaron Wernham and the Kresge Foundation think you could use a health impact assessment. Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) “provide a way to factor health outcomes into decisions that affect both housing and neighborhoods, such as zoning, road-building, codes, or neighborhood revitalization” says Aaron Wernham, a physician a director of the Health Impact Project based in Washington, D.C., in Shelterforce’s latest issue on health and housing. HIAs are conducted in 6 steps that include screening and reporting. During perhaps the most important step – “assessing” – community members are regarded as true stakeholders in the decision-making process and help shape priorities of planned projects and which health outcomes should be promoted or avoided. By systematically assessing the health risks of development decisions upfront, health impact assessments can prevent costly and harmful mistakes.

Shelterforce via Planetizen

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