Key Ideas and Recommendations for Integrating Health and Planning in the City of Oakland

Planning Healthy Cities for the 21st Century Workshop
October 6, 2006 * Oakland City Hall

1. Create greater meaningful collaboration between county health and city planning in decision-making around land-uses

  • Use health impact assessments to incorporate public health issues into the planning process. CEQA comes too late in the process, so it is less likely that developers want to comply.
  • Utilize public health departments in the development process
    • Build relationships to exchange information, tools, analysis, etc.
    • Health department representatives should provide information to the community when a development is proposed.
    • Public health officials should sit on development commissions and positions where decisions are being made.
  • Incorporate health, social equity, and other social/environmental issues into the decision making process
    • Introduce new data into the decision making process
      • Develop cost outcomes for particular development
      • Introduce better info about real costs of projects
      • Develop models for determining health costs

2. Incorporate health and health measures into General Plan and planning framework

  • Incorporate health into the general plan
    • Introduce zoning and planning policies
    • Include specific objectives and goals for health impacts
    • Have planning commission and city council work together
  • Changing the physical design of a community:
    • Plan communities to encourage physical activity as part of their daily routine
    • Promote walkability by building more small roads instead of a few large roads
    • Require wider sidewalk widths
    • Encourage parking in the back of or below buildings, not in the front
    • Integrate communities with a mix of uses that are within walking distance and within walking distance transit stops
    • Diversify housing types
    • Develop more public spaces, open spaces, and parkland
    • Encourage more compact development
    • Maximize access to healthy food, farmers markets, and community gardens

 3. Incorporate health and health measures into EIR or a similar process

  • Add more comprehensive health analysis requirements to CEQA
  • Conduct Health Impact Assessments independent of the EIR process

 4. Establish community planning process to increase education and empower organization around health and land-use and share vision.

  • Address gentrification, affordability, and displacement issues,
    • Provide affordable housing and increase jobs to decrease overcrowding and displacement
  • Decentralize the decision making process and share power and control with residents
    • Collaborate at a neighborhood level
      • Planning and health professionals and residents must come together to develop values, goals, and objectives on any planning process
    • Support communities in organizing themselves
      • Identify communities that are organized, and understand what the organization and community networks are in different neighborhoods
      • Give the community the tools to develop leadership and healthy discourse
      • Agencies need to educate people and give communities the funding to develop leadership in these low income communities
    • Reframe technical terms (e.g. smart growth) in layman’s terms, popular education, concrete terms, what “you” desire in community;
    • Impacted residents need to sit on land use committees
    • Reestablish trust
  • Education: Need to make schools the central point of the community. People move away from the city because of the low quality of schools. Schools offer open space for the community as well.