A recent article in Next City highlights the growing effort to reconnect public health and urban planning. Anna Ricklin, manager of the American Planning Association’s Planning and Community Health Center, discusses Plan4Health as an example of the effort to break down silos between planning and public health, and also highlights the work in Dubuque, Iowa, to develop a comprehensive plan that incorporates considerations for mental health.
The development of American cities began with planning and public health working hand-in-hand, especially around sanitation. However, the two disciplines began to split as municipal governments grew. The separation of these two fields remained in place for decades, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that efforts began emerging with the goal of bringing the two back together.
The article discusses four main hurdles for reuniting the planning and public health fields: the gulf between planning and public health professionals, a tendency towards scientific versus collaborative approaches, a reliance on urban design to create ideal social climates, and the overlap of clearing waste and pushing out undesirable populations.
Read the Next City article to learn more about the historical linkages between planning and public health, the mid-century split, and the growing movement to bring these two disciplines back together.
Image from Eastern Highlands Plan4Health Coalition.