Planning for wellbeing and equity

Well-thought urban planning and design promotes health, wellbeing and equity

SESSION: Friday 21st April
Kia Silvennoinen

If the purpose of urban planning is not for human health, then what is it for?"" asks Dr Maria Neira, World Health Organization Director from the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health (2020).

Urban development potentials and challenges centre around one shared element: people. Most of us in Aotearoa live, work, learn and play in urban environments. We thrive best when these places support our health, wellbeing and equity. When our nation and profession are trying to balance rising costs of living, increasing intensification and continued pressure on infrastructure, how can we ensure best possible wellbeing outcomes for our people?

Significant legislative changes, new directions for policy and emerging focus on mātauranga Māori in planning offer a unique opportunity to re-direct our guidance, practice and status-quo of thinking. Perhaps these upcoming tools will bring us closer to the origins of planning: designing our cities for population health. But are there other ways of ensuring our cities are people-centred?

Officials from Manatū Hauora/Ministry of Health have thought about this a lot. Working together across Public Health and Māori Health we are presenting key findings of our ongoing work. The urban environment is a determinant of wellbeing. Understanding this provides an opportunity to explore mātauranga Māori as an approach to policy and practice. We are proposing four overarching principles for wellbeing-focussed urban development: healthy, safe and resilient communities; wai ora - healthy environments; equity; and climate change mitigation and adaptation. This is how we are placing people at the centre of our practice.

Presented By

Kia Silvennoinen

Manatū Hauora/Ministry of Health