Healthy Communities

Subject 705-637 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Total Time Commitment: 3 hours a week for 12 weeks.
Prerequisites: Admission to a Melbourne School of Design graduate program, the Master of Environments, the Master of Public Health or written approval from the subject coordinator.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Carolyn Whitzman
Subject Overview:

In recent years, there has been a greatly increased interest in the impacts of the built environment on health and wellbeing. At present, spatial inequalities in regards to access to jobs, affordable housing, social services, and healthy food results in a greater burden of disease for particular social groups and in particular geographic areas. Many of the health problems in cities today, including obesity, violence, and depression, are linked to poor residential and recreational environments, lack of access to jobs and social services, and low social cohesion. Urban planners influence physical, social, natural, cultural, and economic environments. They therefore have a key role in ‘planning health in’, rather than ‘planning health out’, of communities.

This subject will provide a local and international background into current policies and practices related to pursuing health and well-being objectives as a central part of urban planning work. It will cover: the influence of planning over key health determinants, international good practice, the current legislative framework including Environments for Health, and Health Impact Assessment. A strong skills focus will ensure that planners, designers and other professionals are able to assess existing sites, plans, and policies from a health perspective.


On completion of this subject, the students should be able to:

  1. Describe the changing nature of public health issues, and their relationship with the built environment;
  2. Understand variations in the needs of different social, economic, and cultural groups in ‘the public’, to which health planning interventions respond.
  3. Analyze a planning proposal and an existing site, using health assessment tools
  4. Describe and critically analyze the integration of Council Plans, Municipal Strategic Statements and Municipal Public Health plans in local governments across Victoria
  5. Relate the concepts of healthy urban planning to current policy initiatives at the local, state, or national level.
  6. Reflect on what you have learned through the subject, and be able to apply these lessons to future work.
  • Oral and written policy analysis based on Environments for Health (25%),
  • oral and written health and safety audit of an area (25%),
  • oral and written health impact assessment of a new plan (25%),
  • reflective essay (25%).

Total written work: 5000 words.

Prescribed Texts: Subject Reader
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:
Notes: This subject requires high level writing and analysis skills and may not be appropriate for a student commencing their first semester of study.
Related Course(s): Master of Criminology (CWT)
Master of Urban Design
Master of Urban Planning
Postgraduate Diploma in Urban Design

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