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Cityscape: Volume 20 Number 2 | The Housing-Health Connection


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Housing-Health Connection

Volume 20, Number 2

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

Embedding Health in Affordable Housing Development: Results of the Health Action Plan Pilot Project

Stephany De Scisciolo
Krista Egger
Mary Ayala
Enterprise Community Partners

  • Objectives: Although affordable housing holds great potential for improving the health of its residents, the optimal way to incorporate health into the affordable housing planning and design process remains unknown. Working with five community development corporations (CDCs), we performed a pilot study of their approach to developing Health Action Plans, a structured process that formalizes collaboration between CDCs and public health professionals.
  • Methods: Five CDCs were selected through a competitive process to receive financial and technical assistance to develop Health Action Plans. The evaluation used a mixed-methods approach. Data were collected through monthly Community of Practice calls, structured interviews conducted twice during the project, and prepilot and postpilot surveys to assess the CDCs’ ability to implement the Health Action Plan framework in the future.
  • Results: Four CDCs developed Health Action Plans specific to their projects. The plans varied in the health issues addressed and the health-promoting strategies considered. A fifth CDC developed generic guidelines. All CDCs gained a deeper understanding of how the built environment can impact health and found that engaging residents and understanding local health needs improved the development process. They were likely to engage public health professionals in the future and consider how their development decisions affect resident health.
  • Conclusions: The Health Action Plan may be an important framework to guide CDCs to look at development as a mechanism to promote resident health outcomes. Work remains to be done before the creation of a Health Action Plan becomes routine, including the incorporation of additional tools and resources that bolster cross-sector collaboration.

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