London: Designed for Healthy Living?

Since April 2012, public health in England has been re-organised. It is now led by Local Authorities through Local Health & Well-Being Boards (LHWBs), which are intended to bring together the NHS, public health and social care. So what does this mean? In theory, the same organisation now controls public health and the planning process. There should therefore be exciting opportunities to bring the two disciplines together to (for example) improve the standard of the public realm or to promote ‘active travel’.

Instead of the NHS ‘reactionary’ management to health-care can local authorities utilize their planning department and design preventative or even health-enhancing environments that negate the problem before it starts? Can ‘we’ (local authorities) commit to the logic of… more green space = improved air quality = reduced respiratory illness = reduced cost to health services.

Or can ‘we’ commit to… better cycle infrastructure = more people cycling = more active lifestyles = reduced health risks of inactivity and obesity = reduced cost to health services.

Over 97% of our public poll this month (205 entries) believe that well designed spaces effect positively on their mental well-being.

With Local Authority powers across planning and public-health, now more then ever, we can design for healthy living… so why aren’t we? Open-City debates just this –  ‘London: Designed for Healthy Living?’ at our inaugral Green Debate in partnership with the London School of Economics next Tuesday 16 September. Read more here – http://www.openhouselondon.org.uk/special/greendebate.html

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