Our health is significantly affected by our built and natural environment. The independent Marmot Review (2010) commissioned by central government concluded that the conditions of daily life, such as housing, green spaces, high streets, employment and transport, are determining factors for our health and our ability to adopt healthy behaviours. The model below demonstrates the importance of these wider determinants of health using concentric arcs: the outer determinants affect those within. In this model, the natural and built environment shapes people’s activities, local economy, community and lifestyle factors, and ultimately their health and wellbeing.
The Health Map: factors that influence health and wellbeing
Source: Barton and Grant.
Local authorities have dual responsibility for public health, planning, housing and the environment. This creates opportunities for joint-working. Barnet public health works with colleagues from other departments including sustainable transport, planning policy, regeneration and housing to ensure our communities are designed to promote positive mental and physical health. This is achieved by creating opportunities for walking and cycling, healthier food choices on our high streets, improvements in air quality and neighbourhood safety. This is done at a planning stage for new homes and communities, but also delivered across our existing communities through licensing, planning policy and regeneration. By working across older and newer developments alike, we can affect positive improvements for the health of all residents.