RTPI Scotland outlines potential for planning to create healthier communities

RTPI Scotland has described improving public health through planning as a ‘no brainer’.

The organisation said it welcomes the creation of a national public health body for Scotland, but urges more ‘explicit connections’ with the planning system so that place-making can play a wider role in creating healthier communities.

The Institute says ‘town planning should be seen as a crucial preventative investment to drive transformative change and secure a healthier built environment’, but as it stands, the consultation document for Public Health Scotland (PHS) ‘falls short’ in grasping this potential.

Craig McLaren, RTPI Scotland director said, “There is mounting evidence to show well planned places promote healthy behaviours, mental and physical wellbeing, and achieve greater equity in health. Planning performs the critical function of aligning transport initiatives, housing strategies and economic development – all of which have major impact on health outcomes. It is a no brainer.

“A public health body for Scotland can make a real difference if it explicitly recognises the connection between health and planning and puts in the right arrangements and clear remits to ensure it can use planning to bring more upstream, preventative interventions in the long term.”