During the 2019-2020 summer, researchers from Western Sydney University, UNSW's City Futures Research Centre and South Western Sydney Local Health District came together to look at the barriers and opportunities that built environment practitioners face when making healthy places. By surveying practitioners and researchers across Central and Greater Metropolitan Sydney and Regional NSW and conducting a literature review, they were able to gain valuable insights and published their findings in the report, 'Making Healthy Places'.
As COVID-19 took over and disrupted how we interacted with each other our environment, the team held a workshop to discuss key priorties and recommendations in the wake of COVID-19, with the focus on five key areas: Green infrastructure and open space; social planning and community services; active transport; healthy food options and diverse housing. The outcome of the workshop was published in the report 'Prioritising Healthy Placemaking after Covid-19 Workshop Outcomes and Practitioner Insights'.
As COVID-19 continues to run its course and in light of the NSW Government's soon to be finalised 'Design and Place State and Environmental Planning Policy', the team published an article in The Conversation titled 'Planning shake-up needed to help those whose job it is to make NSW a healthy place', highlighting the difficulties faced by healthy placemakers to make healthy places, as gained through their previously mentioned work.
To ensure NSW lives up to the claim that it is truly a healthy state to live in, the team encourages all to provide feedback when the final policy is released later this year.
*Funding for the project came from the Healthy Urban Environment Collaboratory and support from Planning Institute Australia NSW and the Heart Foundation.