Read a summary of our Lower South District HIA, the first to be completed by PCPC and our partners in the Department of Public Health!
Read our report on the West Park District and opportunities to improve health through plan implementation!
Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process whereby the health impacts of proposed plans, projects, or policies are systematically evaluated in order to inform decision-making. With Philadelphia2035, we are one of the first major U.S. cities attempting to standardize the practice of HIA within planning and zoning activities. HIA topics for each district will be identified with the help of community input during the planning process.
In the context of a District Plan, HIA can:
- offer health-based rationales for the prioritization of certain projects (Example: A waterfront neighborhood has few open spaces and no direct access to Fairmount Park. How would a trail extension open up physical activity opportunities? How might this infrastructure help change the health profile of this population over time?)
- explain the health consequences implicit in zoning decisions (Example: A large industrially zoned parcel sits vacant in a residential neighborhood that lacks many commercial services. How could rezoning this parcel to allow a mix of uses encourage reinvestment and help attract services within walking distance of a previously car-dependent community?)
- raise awareness of the health impacts of land use and development choices (Example: Suburban-style development is permitted under current zoning in a traditionally urban neighborhood. How might this increase congestion, worsen air quality, discourage walking and the use of transit, and detract from overall quality of life?)
- empower residents to advocate for health-supportive decision-making (Example: A particular street or intersection shows higher-than-average rates of collisions and injuries between pedestrians and motorists. What can be done to improve conditions, and what impact might that have on the behavior of local residents?)
To help staff answer questions like these and conduct HIAs, the City Planning Commission and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) have teamed up to create the Healthy Planning Toolbox.
To learn more about the HIA process and to see examples of HIAs completed in other cities, visit www.hiaguide.org