What is the built environment?
The built environment is everything that has been built, created or changed by people, like homes, schools, retail outlets, parks, bicycle lanes, trails and sidewalks. The way that we design our communities has a huge impact on our health.
Community design influences:
- How much physical activity we get
- The quality of our air and water
- Our access to institutions, goods and services
- Residents’ alcohol and/or tobacco use and exposure
- Our safety
- Our access to nutritious food
- Our exposure to ultra-violet (UV) radiation from the sun and
- Our social interactions, access to natural spaces and overall sense of well-being
The City of Peterborough’s Official Plan and the County of Peterborough’s Official Plan guide land use as well as community design. Additionally, each of the County townships has a land-use plan that can be found on the County of Peterborough website.
The Transportation Plan for the City and County guides the development of sidewalks, cycling lanes and trails as well as roads and highways. In addition, the City of Peterborough has proposed a Comprehensive Transportation Plan Update.
There are lots of websites and resources that you can access for more information on how the built environment influences health outcomes.
It’s a good idea to become familiar with the Official Plan and the Transportation Plan in order to positively influence them. When plans come up for review, municipalities reach out to residents to hear their views. Take action and ask your municipality when the next local planning consultation will be. Make an effort to attend and/or to provide written comments. By being informed, you can have a voice and help plan for healthy communities.
Last modified on Aug 21, 2012