Indicators for Community Action: Built Environment and Community Health


  • Andrew Curran Spatial Planning Advisor, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (HABITAT)
  • Jill Grant School of Planning, Dalhousie University
  • Mary Ellen Wood Planning Consultant, Rudy Associates


Recently a collaborative project between a university, a provincial statistical agency, and a non-profit service organization worked to identify built environment indicators for local action and planning around community health. The research involved developing appropriate built environment indicators for active recreation and transportation, and testing them for community usefulness and data availability in several communities in Nova Scotia, Canada. The indicators will be added to an online community database managed by the provincial government. By making province-wide indicator data easily and publicly available, governments have the potential to facilitate local initiatives to improve community health and well-being. In this paper we describe the process of identifying indicators that would let communities identify whether their built environment promotes active recreation and active transportation.

Author Biographies

Andrew Curran, Spatial Planning Advisor, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (HABITAT)

Jill Grant is Professor in the School of Planning, Dalhousie University. Her research focuses on the design and planning of residential environments.

Jill Grant, School of Planning, Dalhousie University

Andrew Curran is a recent masters graduate of Dalhousie University. He is working as a planner through a CIDA funded project with the Canadian Institute of Planners in Bosnia.

Mary Ellen Wood, Planning Consultant, Rudy Associates

Mary Ellen Wood is a planning consultant in Orillia, Ontario. She is a recent graduate of the planning program at Dalhousie University.


Additional Files