Making Healthy City Planning Work

Here is a recent article on some of the work we are doing in Richmond, CA, promoting Healthy City Planning. Importantly, the article emphasizes that it takes leadership and action on multiple levels to make healthy city planning work -  not just in the planning or health departments.  The City Council and Mayor have made this part of their agenda, as has the City Manager and multiple city agencies. Contra Costa County Health Services, the public health department for the city of Richmond, is also playing a leading role.  While the article rightly notes that moving toward a healthier and more equitable Richmond is not about health care alone, improving access to and affordability of clinical services is important.  To support this, the County-run health clinics, including school-based services, as well as Kaiser - the largest health care provider in Richmond - are taking an active role in linking prevention programs with essential basic care.  Perhaps most important, community-based organizations are leading the way - - organizing residents, proposing and participating in projects and holding the government and industry (such as Chevron) accountable.  One sign of growing community accountability toward health, is the resubmission on May 23, 2011, by Chevron for a Conditional Use Permit to upgrade its Richmond refinery and a commitment to address the environmental issues the company ignored and Communities for a Better Environment and others successfully sued the company to address. 
Making healthy and equitable city planning work demands action and leadership on multiple fronts, and Richmond is increasingly moving in the right direction.