Who We Are
HealthyDesign.City is a university-based initiative dedicated to raising awareness about the connections between how our communities are designed and population health. We are committed to making information about the health effects of Canadian communities’ built environment accessible to urban planners, public health professionals, policymakers, community organizers and the general public. To do this, we develop interactive web-based tools that allow mapping and visualizing health-relevant metrics such as air quality, heat islands, accessibility of community amenities, and parks and recreational facilities. With a specific focus on environmental equity, our tools provide nationally-consistent indicators of neighbourhood-level urban built environments that affect the health of individuals living in all Canadian cities.
Today, more Canadians live in cities than ever before. Different aspects of urban living can have either positive or negative impacts on the health and health-related behaviours of individuals living in cities. Factors such as air quality, access to community amenities, infrastructure supporting active living, and exposure to extreme temperatures are not distributed equally across urban areas. Further, such built environment characteristics often have a disproportionate impact on the health of the most vulnerable residents. There is therefore a need to design public health, urban planning and public policy interventions that address the health, social and environmental inequities that result from the built environment of our communities.
To support these interventions and to increase awareness about the built environment and health in Canada, we are developing two digital tools to help public and environmental health professionals, urban planners, and the general public easily access data on healthy urban environments.
HealthyPlace.City is a public engagement tool that provides information about urban environmental conditions for neighbourhoods across all Canadian cities. The tool will provide a mapping interface that shows the spatial distribution of different health-relevant built environment factors and will also display a score for each factor that will allow users to compare different locations within the same urban area. The tool is intended to be used by the general public, and to support public health professionals and community organizations in their public engagements. HealthyPlace.City is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2022.
HealthyPlan.City combines built environment datasets from different sources with demographic datasets from the Canadian Census to present a picture of environmental equity in over 150 cities across Canada. This tool shows where vulnerable populations are experiencing lower than average beneficial environmental conditions in order to highlight priorities for improving equity and help improve health for all. HealthyPlan.city is intended to be used by public health professionals, urban planners and policymakers to identify where environmental inequities exist in their city and target interventions accordingly and can also be used by the general public to learn about environmental equity in Canadian urban areas.
Our research team, comprised of some of the leading environmental health and epidemiological experts in Canada, is actively engaged in producing quantitative and qualitative research evidence on how these tools are used over time by different audiences, what different populations value in terms of urban environment features, and what impact they have on user behaviours, planning and policy. This evidence will inform improvements to the tools, how they are promoted and how the data they capture is applied. The areas of ongoing evaluation include:
- Tool design: Comprehensive user testing will inform the final tool versions. Testers that represent key demographic and socio-economic groups provide valuable insights into any differences that make the tool easier/harder to use.
- Tool use: A variety of evaluation functions will produce metrics on voluntarily supplied user demographics, frequency of use, locations queried, and built environment characteristics explored most frequently.
Information uptake: Voluntary surveys will provide information about how users are applying what they learn from the tool to their neighbourhoods, communities and cities.
We are funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada via the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research via the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium.
Limitations and Liability
HealthyPlan.City is a free, open-access tool that provides information about how environmental exposures that affect health are distributed among a variety of populations within Canadian cities. The material provided on HealthyPlan.City is intended for educational and informational purposes only. HealthyPlan.City is not engaged in rendering medical services or advice and the information provided is not a substitute for a professional medical opinion.
HEALTHYPLAN.CITY DATA AND INFORMATION ARE OBTAINED FROM A NUMBER OF SOURCES AND ARE PROVIDED WITHOUT CHARGE. ANY SUCH DATA AND INFORMATION ARE PROVIDED ON AN "AS IS" BASIS WITHOUT ANY REPRESENTATION, WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF ANY KIND, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, STATUTORY OR OTHERWISE, AS TO: QUALITY; ACCURACY; COMPLETENESS; LEGALITY; CURRENCY; RELIABILITY; EFFICACY, OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
ANYONE USING THE INFORMATION DOES SO BY THEIR OWN CHOICE, AND BY USING SUCH INFORMATION AGREES TO INDEMNIFY HDC AND ITS CONTENT PROVIDERS FROM ANY AND ALL LIABILITY, LOSS, INJURY, DAMAGES, COSTS AND EXPENSES (INCLUDING LEGAL FEES AND EXPENSES) ARISING FROM SUCH PERSON'S USE OF THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE.
Q. What kind of personal information is being collected and why?
When you register to use HealthyPlan.City, your email address will be retained by HealthyDesign.City (HDC). HDC will use your email address to deliver data and reports that you request, and may communicate with you about opportunities to participate in HDC user surveys.
If you choose to subscribe to our newsletter, your email address will be retained by MailChimp.
When you visit HealthyPlan.City, your IP address is used by Google Analytics to record how you use the site. We use aggregated site usage statistics to improve the quality of the HDC tools and to support future funding applications.
Q. How are you protecting the privacy of my personal information?
HDC will retain your email address on a password-protected secure server, and will not share or sell your email address to any third party.
Q: How long will HDC retain my personal data?
The email address you use to register with HDC will be retained as long as HDC is in operation unless you request the deletion of your email address. You can make this request at any time by emailing [email protected]
No other personal information will be retained by HDC.
Q: I have a question or concern about HDC’s collection of personal information. Whom should I contact?
A: If you have any questions or concerns about how your personal information is being used by HDC, please send an email through the HDC website “Contact” section, where the contact information for HDC is listed as:
HealthyDesign.City ([email protected])
Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto
155 College St.