The built environment means the buildings, transportation systems, energy systems, open space, and agricultural lands that make up and support our communities.

The built environment means the buildings, transportation systems, energy systems, open space, and agricultural lands that make up and support our communities.

  • Street design, bike lanes and sidewalks; housing types and neighbourhood design; patterns of development; the provision of trees, parks, green space and recreational facilities; and the location of jobs, schools and services are all important components of the built environment.
  • The built environment can have a significant impact on human health because it can influence people’s levels of physical activity; the safety of travel; the quality of outdoor air; access to jobs and services; and opportunities for social interaction and recreation.
  • This describes how human health is affected by a broad suite of factors including: income, education, employment, food security, quality of housing, transportation services, and access to health services.
  • People who live on low incomes have a greater chance of developing a chronic disease or being injured. They are also more likely to live in neighbourhoods with greater exposure to traffic, and less access to healthy foods, parks, trails, green space, and good transit service; factors which increase their risk of illness and injury.

Healthy Streets: In 2014 TPH compiled health evidence for Complete Streets and produced three reports:

“Getting our Neighbourhoods Moving” Active Transportation Demonstration Projects (2014):

Why nature matters to health

Abundant, diverse and well maintained green spaces are important features of a healthy city. Three reports released in September 2015 describe the many health benefits of green space:

These reviews fill a gap in the understanding of the relationship between green space and human health and highlight the importance of continued investments in Toronto’s natural heritage.

Artificial turf is increasingly being used in places like sports fields, child care facilities and streetscapes. Toronto Public Health completed a health impact assessment to better understand the potential implications of this increase in use.