Prevention and public health advocates can play a major role in ensuring health and equity are considered in built environment and land-use decisions by offering feedback on California’s new General Plan guidelines.
City and regional planning go hand-in-hand with health and equity. Planning decisions shape community access to health-promoting resources, like jobs, transit, housing, healthy food retail, and safe places to play. From Riverside County to the cities of Richmond, Los Angeles, Chino, and beyond, California communities are putting their general plans to work to advance health, safety, and equity.
That’s why a new set of guidelines to improve how California communities plan for the future is so important. The California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research recently released their latest Draft General Plan Guidelines, and for the first time, the guidelines include chapters on healthy communities, social equity, and climate change. The guidelines elevate health and equity as integral components of city and regional planning, on par with land use, transportation, and housing. With the inclusion of health, equity, and community resilience in the state-level guidelines, we expect to see more and more cities and counties throughout California incorporating these considerations in their plans and policies.
“We applaud the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research for elevating community health, equity, and resilience in its new General Plan Guidelines,” said Rachel Bennett, program coordinator at Prevention Institute. “With these new guidelines, the State of California is sending a clear message that all future development in California should support health, equity, and resilience in the first place.”
The Office of Planning and Research is hosting a series of public workshops across the state to seek feedback on the draft guidelines. The new guidelines will shape decision-making and policymaking in every community across California for decades to come. We encourage prevention advocates, planners, and health professionals to attend, share strategies that work, and/or submit written comments on the draft guidelines to highlight the importance of building health and equity into city and regional planning decisions.
Here are the upcoming workshops: