Healthy Built Environment

built environment

Improving health by improving the environments in which we live.

WHAT IS THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT?

The built environment refers to the human-made or modified physical surroundings in which people live, work, and play. These places and spaces include our homes, communities, schools, workplaces, parks/recreational areas, business areas, and transportation systems, and vary in size from large-scale urban areas to smaller rural developments.

WHY LINK COMMUNITY DESIGN, PLANNING AND HEALTH?

How we design our communities is vitally important to our health and well-being. Planning decisions such as zoning, transportation systems and community design significantly influence health. Consider, for instance, the distances people must travel to work, the convenience of buying healthy foods, or the safety of a park: these factors can promote good nutrition, physical activity and increase leisure time. The outcome can be better mental and physical health.

HOW DOES ISLAND HEALTH INFLUENCE THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT?

Our Healthy Built Environment program works to promote health by collaborating with municipal planners, community organizations and other stakeholders. More specifically, Environmental Health is expanding on their traditional regulatory roles to include the broader public health perspective, such as:

  • emphasize neighbourhood design where people can easily connect with each other and a variety of day-to-day services
  • promote safe and accessible transportation systems that incorporate a diversity of transportation modes and place priority on physically active transportation
  • advocate for a built environment where natural environments are protected and natural elements are incorporated
  • encourage a built environment that includes access to and availability of healthy and safe food
  • support for affordable, accessible, and good quality housing for all that is free of hazards and enables people to engage in activities of daily living

Contact Health Protection Environmental Services Locations for:

News & Events

image of grass

Boring? Island Health’s first environmental scientist says the job is anything but

Since joining Island Health, Kobby has been collaborating on projects like a fuel spill, groundwater contamination and an industrial fire. Coming from consulting, working for private companies in gold mining and oil and gas, he’s excited to put his knowledge and experience to use for the public good.

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image of hot sun

Heat warning expanded to include additional Island Health regions

Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued a heat warning several regions in Island Health. A strong ridge of high pressure will remain over southern B.C. through Wednesday. Well above seasonal daytime temperatures combined with elevated overnight temperatures will mean little relief from the heat. Temperatures are expected to lower a few degrees on Thursday as the ridge begins to break down. Daytime temperatures reaching 29 to 34 C are expected.

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Dr. Pavi Abernethy in kayak

Give people the tools: Dr. Paivi Abernethy on climate change, health and empowerment

In December 2012, Dr. Paivi Abernethy had an epiphany. As part of her PhD research, she was conducting interviews with various specialists about the fallout from torrential rain in Mid-Wales during the past summer. As a result of the deluge, tailings from historic silver mines overflowed and ran downhill; the concentration of lead resulted in the death of cattle. There were also serious concerns among locals about toxicity in community gardens.

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