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Working Together: A Training Framework for Public Health and Planning Professionals

This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

The Healthy Community Design Initiative, also known as the Built Environment and Health Initiative, is no longer a funded program and the information on this website is not being reviewed and updated on a regular basis.


As public health professionals and urban planners begin to work more closely, they need the ability to speak each other’s languages in order to work together effectively. This toolkit will help both professions get basic training in concepts that will foster this collaboration. 

The goals of public health professionals and urban planners are quite similar. Both sectors support the design and development of communities that promote physical and mental health by encouraging healthy behaviors, quality of life, social connectedness, safety and equity. During the 19th century, city planning and public health officials worked together to tackle cholera and tuberculosis by providing access to clean water, sanitation and green spaces. Now, they need to work together against chronic diseases of the 21st century such as obesity and diabetes. However, healthy community design requires a diverse set of skills. Public health professionals and urban planners need a mutual and basic understanding of each other’s concepts in order to forge effective partnerships.

The framework below stresses collaboration between health professionals and planners in six core areas. Click on a core area to view resources that will familiarize you with it. In addition:

  • A small selection of U.S. case studies are available here .
  • The Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse is a resource for training at the university and professional levels, and a source for relevant news on the intersection of community design and health.
  • If you have other resources or case studies to include in the framework, please contact Charles Green at

Understanding the Connections between Public Health and Built Environment

graphic showing 6 topic areas - Understanding the Connections between Public Health and Built Environment