Healthy Communities

Subject ABPL90022 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 25-Oct-2015
Assessment Period End 20-Nov-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 07-Aug-2015
Census Date 31-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 25-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours: 1x 3 hours of seminar per week
Total Time Commitment:

170 Hours


Admission into a course at the Melbourne School of Design, 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:


Prof Carolyn Whitzman


Environments and Design Student Centre
Ground Floor, Baldwin Spencer (building 113)

Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

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 decision-makers like planners and designers 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, 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.

Learning Outcomes:

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 Health and Wellbeing plans, and land use planning tools such as Precinct Structure Plans and Urban Design Frameworks, in local governments across Victoria
  5. Relate the concepts of healthy urban planning to current policy initiatives at the local, state, or national level.
  1. Site Assessment essay, based on fieldwork, 1500 words, 30%, Due week 4
  2. Policy analysis essay, based on comparison of relevant council and state government plans, 1500 words, 30%, due week 7
  3. Health Impact Assessment report, based on site assessment and policy analysis, 1500 words, 30%, due week 10
  4. 10 minute health advocacy presentation, based on previous three assignments, 500 words, 10%, during exam period

Prescribed Texts:

Reading available on LMS

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  1. written, verbal and visual communications
  2. Ability to analyse current policies in light of theory and evidence
  3. ability to advocate for a position, based on understanding of policy, theory, and evidence

This subject requires high level writing and analysis skills and may not be appropriate for a student commencing the first semester of study.

Related Course(s): Master of Design (Urban Design)
Master of Urban Design
Master of Urban Planning
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Melbourne School of Design multidisciplinary elective subjects
Public Health
Public Health
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

Download PDF version.