Health has a lot to do with where we live—and how the land where we live is used. Affordable housing, parks and green space, public transit, pedestrian safety, and other resources related to land use provide the foundations of community health. These are health-supporting resources that all communities deserve.

Yet, too often, land use reinforces pervasive, historical health inequities. In many parts of the country, low-income communities of color have not received the same level of investments or innovations in healthy, equitable, and active land uses that have benefited higher income neighborhoods. Better land use decisions, such as increasing access to safe, affordable housing in all neighborhoods, are critical to reducing health inequities and rectifying racial injustices.

Prevention Institute’s work on land use and housing seeks to fundamentally shift land use planning practices so they promote safe, healthy communities where local business owners and residents have the opportunity to thrive.

Projects & Initiatives

PI works with a breadth of partners and communities to develop strategies and practices to keep people healthy and safe in the first place. Below is a selection of ongoing or recent projects.

  • Healthy, Equitable, Active Land Use Network

    HEALU was formed in response to structural barriers to equity in Los Angeles’ land use arena, and in an effort to strategically and collaboratively promote systems change. HEALU augments the role of health in the land use sphere through training, capacity building, convening and proactively advancing key strategies to ensure a healthier, more equitable land use system.

  • Building Momentum for Park and Green Space Equity in Small and Midsize Cities

    PI will plan a new national initiative, Building Momentum for Park and Green Space Equity in Small and Midsize Cities, in partnership with the University of Utah. The initiative is being funded by RWJF. We will co-design a funding program focused on policy and systems changes to increase equitable access to parks and green spaces in low-income communities of color in urban areas across the United States. 


We research and write reports, white papers, fact sheets, opinion pieces, and journal articles, as well as produce videos and podcasts. Here are some of our latest offerings.

Profiles in Action

  • Male Engagement Network: Men Making Connections

    In Boston, a history of structural racism has resulted in underfunded schools, inadequate housing, and other community conditions that generate trauma for men of color. Since 2016, Boston's Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC) has convened the Boston Making Connections coalition to promote mental wellbeing for men of color and their families.

  • Safe Lead Yard Project (Boston)

    Boston Lead-Safe Yard Project uses affordable techniques to mitigate exposure to lead in inner-city yards. Now that they have proven that affordable remediation techniques can reduce urban lead exposure, project members are working to ensure these effective lead-safe yard techniques are applied in neighborhoods across the country.

  • Countering the Production of Health Inequities through Systems and Sectors

    The opportunity to be healthy is not afforded to everyone in America. As a result, many preventable illnesses occur in higher frequency, earlier, and with greater severity among people living in concentrated poverty and in communities of color. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Prevention Institute analyzed what has contributed to these inequities to determine a pathway forward to produce health equity.