Healthy urban development

Most of us live, work, learn and play in urban environments. Around 84 percent of New Zealanders live in urban areas. We thrive best when these environments support our health, safety and wellbeing. Principles for consideration in urban development processes include:

  • healthy, safe and resilient communities
  • wai ora – healthy environments
  • equity
  • climate change mitigation and adaptation.

A safe and healthy urban environment supports equity, health and wellbeing

Healthy, safe and resilient communities support the wellbeing of whānau and individuals. The urban environment is a determinant of health and wellbeing through equitable access to:

  • air quality
  • amenity values eg noise management
  • appropriate land use, zoning and urban form
  • community services (education, healthcare)
  • cultural and natural environments
  • employment opportunities
  • essential infrastructure (sanitary works such as drinking-water supplies, sewage disposal, waste management)
  • food security (including mahinga kai)
  • freshwater and recreational water
  • healthy housing
  • public spaces and recreation
  • resilience and adaptation to climate change
  • retail and commercial facilities
  • safe and active transport, public transport
  • safe management of contaminated land.

Opportunities for supporting healthy urban development

The health and disability sector, including district health board public health units, have recognised the following opportunities to support urban development:

  • demonstrate the contribution and value the health sector can add to planning process and practices
  • integrate better with the planning and development sectors
  • identify cross-sector funding and resources to create healthier and safer communities
  • identify opportunities to support equity and access for all
  • reflect mātauranga Māori in urban development; ensure appropriate engagement with Māori, iwi, hapū and Pacific peoples in the development processes and outcomes.