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Planning in the 7-County Metro Area

Thrive 2040
The Metropolitan Council creates a long-range plan for the Twin Cities region every 10 years. Thrive MSP 2040 sets the policy foundations for systems and policy plans developed by the Council for 2040.

Local Planning Handbook
From the Metropolitan Council, a collection of tools and resources to aid planners in the 7-county Metro area. Includes community profiles, interactive maps, supportive resources, and more.

To provide community planning support for cities and counties, Terra Soma, a food system consultant based in Minneapolis, is working more closely with cities and counties to create healthy communities. Terra Soma is making available, free of charge, in-depth technical assistance to cities and counties for initiatives that will improve health by increasing the availability of and access to healthy food.

This opportunity will help cities identify and develop approaches to incorporate health into city plans, ordinances, policies, and programs, with emphasis on the city’s upcoming comprehensive plan update:

  • Technical assistance for cities to develop innovative approaches, strategies, and policies that:
    • Increase availability of healthy food, using the Food Access Planning Guide.
    • Focus on serving and engaging priority populations (low-income residents, communities of color, seniors, and people with disabilities).
  • Technical assistance for community engagement to support community participation in the project steering committee, engagement of constituencies in this work, and other activities.Contact to get assistance!

Planning and Health

APA (American Planning Association) Plan4Health Initiative
This project is designed to leverage planners’ roles as collaborators and conveners to improve health outcomes. A great place to start, with a large library of quality resources and training opportunities.

American Policy Association (APA) Policy Guide on Planning
This study is the first to provide an in-depth, qualitative case study analysis of how public health became a part of the planning process.

Comprehensive Plans and Health Toolkits
From APA’s Plan4Health initiative, the Comprehensive Plans and Health toolkit includes resources to successfully integrate health into the goals, objectives, and policies that encompass comprehensive plans.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Places
Healthy Places is the home page for CDC’s Healthy Community Design Initiative (also known as the Built Environment and Health Initiative). Large library of community design resources and tools.

ChangeLab Solutions (formerly Public Health Law & Policy) – Healthy Planning
ChangeLab Solutions is pioneering a new approach to public health advocacy by fostering collaboration between public health officials dedicated to chronic disease prevention and local planning officials.

Minnesota Department of Health Planning Resources
Contains a Healthy Planning How-To Guide, a training, and review of metro comprehensive plans for health indicators specific to MN.

Planning for Improved Food Environments

Planning for Food Access and Community-Based Food Systems
From the APA, a sample of plans (13 comprehensive plans and eight sustainability plans) selected for in-depth plan evaluation. Plans were evaluated for how they support and advance principles of a healthy, sustainable food system.

Creating Healthier Food Environments
From Changelab Solutions, download toolkits, fact sheets, and reports on establishing community gardens and farmers’ markets, promoting healthy mobile vending, improving corner store offerings, attracting grocery retail, and more.

Food Policy Resource Database
From John Hopkin’s Center for Livable Communities, a tool to browse for different types of resources, including academic literature, how-to guides, strategic plans, aimed at all levels of government.

Food Access Policy and Planning Guide, Seattle
From Northwest Center for Livable Communities, identifies a potential framework for food policy in the Seattle comprehensive plan and provides an inventory of relevant food-related policies that could be incorporated into the plan.

Greenstep Cities Health Food Best Practice
A sustainable cities program, free to cities, that challenges, assists and recognizes cities that implement defined best practices.

Growing Food Connections
In partnership with the University of Buffalo, this project targets urban and rural communities across the US that are significantly underserved by the nation’s food system. With APA’s support, the project is developing research-supported policy tools and trainings to help local governments reconnect vulnerable consumers living in food deserts with local farmers.

Planning for Active Living

Building Streets Pedcast and Guide (2016)
From Changelab solutions, very updated real-world examples on podcast, with a policy guide.

Design for Health Physical Activity and Planning Guide (2007)
A collaborative project that serves to bridge the gap between the emerging research base on community design and healthy living and the everyday realities of local government planning.

Public Policies for Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety and Mobility (2009)
A policy review for bicycling and walking safety and mobility.

Planning and Equity

Plan4Health Health Equity Resources
A toolkit, several webinars, and specific plan examples that address health equity in planning.

MN Food Charter Health Equity Guide
A companion guide to the MN Food Charter, offering relevant definitions and concepts, compelling real-world stories, concrete examples of systemic barriers, strategies that address these barriers and description of related impacts.

PolicyLink Equity Issue Briefs
Each short brief describes key challenges and strategies to advance equity, provides relevant data points and research on economic benefits of equity, and shares an inspiring example of a win-win solution for equity and the economy already being implemented.

Unnatural Causes Health Equity Series
An excellent documentary series and resource center on health equity, asking “Is inequality making us sick?” Offers a resource library, case studies, activities, an action toolkit, policy guides, and more. From the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies Health Policy Institute.

Examples: Plans that Include Health

Kansas City, KS and Wyandotte County: Healthy Food, Happy County
Outlines different options that the Unified Government can take related to food and the current City Wide Master Plan.

Fargo, ND  has a specific chapter dedicated to health, starting on p. 135.

Seattle, WA has a “Community Well-Being” element that’s really thorough. Also has a significant Equity lens.

Richmond, CA is one of the first plans to include an in-depth chapter on health and wellness.

Philadelphia, PA is writing a robust “Healthy Communities” chapter.

Austin, TX– Imagine Austin has a Healthy Austin priority (Chapters starting on 62 and 169 are health-based).

Houston, TX has a Core Strategy of “Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods” and a “People” topic, both with a focus on health.

SeaTac, WA Under Economic development, created a goal to “create an environment that spurs local food sector development to increase opportunities for economic self-sufficiency.”

Integrating Health Into the Comprehensive Planning Process: An analysis of seven case studies and recommendations for change.

Trainings and Peer Work-Groups

Metro Food Access Network Comprehensive Plan Workgroup

Metro Healthy Comp Plan Workgroup
For planners interested in learning more about health and planning, contact Nadja Berneche for more information.

Planning for Population Health Coffee Chats– 1st Wednesday of each month, 8:30-9:30am, for MDH staff
Contact Ellen Pillsbury to learn more!

APA Plan4Health’s Peer-Learning Network
The Peer Learning Network (PLN) is open to organizational partners, community leaders, professional allies and anyone passionate about creating vibrant, healthy places.

Quality Sources for Health Data

National Sources:

American Community Survey (2015)
Helps local officials, community leaders and businesses understand the changes taking place in their communities.  It is the premier source for detailed information about the American people and workforce.

US Census Data Profiles
Data Profiles have the most frequently requested social, economic, housing, and demographic data. Each of these four subject areas is a separate data profile. The data profiles summarize the data for a single geographic area, both numbers and percent, to cover the most basic data on all topics.

From the US Census, an interactive map-making tool with many data layering capabilities.

American FactFinder
US Census data: Find popular facts (population, income, etc.) and frequently requested data about your community.

HUD Location Affordability Portal
Housing and transportation costs consume about half of the average household budget, but transportation costs are difficult to track and account for. The Location Affordability Portal provides estimates of household housing and transportation costs at the neighborhood level to help consumers, policymakers, and developers make more informed decisions about where to live, work, and invest.

CDC’s Behavioral Risk Surveillance System Data (state level data)
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the nation’s premier system of health-related telephone surveys that collect state data about U.S. residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.

State and Local Sources:

Community Health Assessment (County level data- See your county’s public health site)
Collects, analyzes and uses data to educate and mobilize communities, develop priorities, garner resources, and plan actions to improve the public’s health

MN Student Survey
The survey asks questions about activities, experiences, and behaviors.  Topics covered include tobacco, alcohol and drug use, school climate, physical activity, violence and safety, connections with school and family, health, and other topics.

MN SHAPE Survey (for 7-county metro)
The Survey of the Health of All the Population and the Environment (SHAPE) has identified local health issues in the community for more than 15 years. Answers provide vital information about the health trends and issues of adults and children who live in the seven-county metro area.

MN Hospitals Community Needs Assessments
A hospital must complete a CHNA at least every three years with input from the broader community, including public health experts.

Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Data reports and analytics
Data available by school district

MN State Demographics Center
The Minnesota State Demographic Center (SDC), part of the Minnesota Department of Administration, is the main provider of demographic data and analysis for the state of Minnesota. Provides population estimates and responds to data requests.

MN County Health Tables
The Minnesota County Health Tables are a compilation of public health data for Minnesota and its 87 counties. The County Tables are published yearly starting in 2002.

MN Vital Statistics Interactive Queries (IQ)
Find vital records: birth, death and other vitals by community.

Local Tools to Integrate Health

Healthy Comprehensive Planning: A Checklist (.doc)
Healthy Comprehensive Planning: A Checklist (.pdf)

Dakota County Health Policy Briefs:
Instructions for Replicating Documents for your community

Planning for Health: Healthy Communities
Planning for Health: Transportation
Planning for Health: Land Use
Planning for Health: Housing
Planning for Health: Parks

Planning Data Template for Any City
Health and Equity Indicators Chart
Health and Equity Data Sources Chart