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A healthy city for all: Vancouver's Healthy City Strategy 2014 - 2025

Children in a Vancouver playground

The Healthy City Strategy currently in development will be a long-term, integrated plan for healthier people, healthier places, and a healthier planet.

The strategy will be aligned with other key priorities of the City, and is based on our framework that identifies the building blocks of a healthy city for all.

Related initiatives

Recent developments with the Healthy City Strategy

Talk Healthy City for All: launching soon

March 31, 2014 — How can we create a healthy city of all?

Vancouverites will soon be asked for innovative ideas for reaching our Healthy City for All 2025 targets. Check out the draft goals and targets, and sign up to be notified by email about online and in-person engagement opportunities coming this spring. Help us build a healthy city where everyone is thriving!

Healthy People Healthy Places

March 31, 2014 — Join us for an inspirational morning of knowledge sharing and dialogue on planning and designing our communities for greater health and well-being. Learn more and register on Eventbrite.

Register online

DTES Social Impact Assessment (SIA)

February 26, 2014 — With help from the SIA Reference Group, the Social Impact Assessment was prepared as part of the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan Process to examine how future developments and land use changes could affect the low-income community in the area. The SIA identifies impacts before any development is implemented to help maximize the positive effects on a community while minimizing the negative.

New award recognizes leadership in making Vancouver a healthier city

February 21, 2014 — The City of Vancouver launched the inaugural Awards of Excellence, a new awards program recognizing outstanding civic achievements. Award categories include the Healthy City for All Award, which pays tribute to outstanding leadership by an individual or organization in working towards creating a healthier city.

City supports "A GP for Me" initiative

February 19, 2014 — The City is supporting an initiative by the BC Ministry of Health and Doctors of BC to help Vancouver residents find a family doctor, and support patient-doctor relationships.

Help shape future programs and services in your community

December 1, 2013 — Everyone knows we are what we eat, but our health and well-being are closely linked to where we live and what we do. The City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health are key partners in an ongoing effort to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for Vancouver residents. Add your voice to the discussion by filling out the My Health My Community Survey. Your information will help shape future programs and community services that will benefit you, your family, and your community.

Mayor convenes Roundtable on Mental Health and Addictions

October 2, 2013 — Over 100 stakeholders took part in a Mayor’s Roundtable on Mental Health and Addictions at the SFU Wosk Centre for Dialogue. Mayor Gregor Robertson opened the Roundtable, which included service providers, front-line workers, academics, and people living with mental illness and addictions.

Speakers included Dr William Horner of the UBC Department of Psychiatry, and Dr Michelle Patterson of At Home/Chez Soi, a research project examining the role of housing and support services for people with severe mental illnesses.

Two people living with mental illness who have experienced homelessness also shared their experiences.

Update on the draft strategy presented to Council

July 2013 — Staff updated Council on the development of the draft strategy framework. Further consultations and engagement on the draft strategy will take place over the fall of 2013, and the final strategy will be presented to Council in early 2014.

Memorandum of Understanding with Vancouver Coastal Health

March 2013 — The City has signed a Memorandum of Understand (MOU) with our key partner, Vancouver Coastal Health, to develop a formal commitment to enhance our collaborative efforts in seven priority areas:

  1. Early care and learning
  2. Healthy housing options
  3. Food security and sustainable food systems
  4. Active living and getting outside
  5. Healthy service
  6. Social connectedness
  7. Healthy built environment

Watch for our first joint action, coming fall 2013.

Draft strategy

September 2012 — The City is developing a draft Healthy City Strategy in consultation with key stakeholders. Sign up for news, events, ways to get involved and updates on the Healthy City Strategy.

Partnership Agreement with Vancouver Coastal Health

August 2012 — The City of Vancouver is working with our key partner Vancouver Coastal Health to develop a formal commitment to enhance our collaborative efforts in seven priority areas:

  1. Healthy housing options
  2. Food security and sustainable food systems
  3. Early care and learning
  4. Active living and getting outside
  5. Healthy services
  6. Social connectedness
  7. Healthy built environment

Healthy People, Healthy City Summit 2012

22 June 2012 — Healthy People, Healthy City 2012 brought together over 300 people from a broad range of sectors to participate in the launch of the development of a Healthy City Strategy for Vancouver. The summit featured presentations by local people representing programs involved in groundbreaking work in urban health and well-being including topics that highlighted:

  • Youth leadership development
  • Supportive housing
  • Neighbourhood food networks
  • Methadone maintenance therapy
  • Urban Aboriginal employment
  • Physical literacy for kids
  • Hoarding solutions
  • School-based substance use prevention
  • The intersections between older adult health, mobility and the built environment

Keynote speaker Andre Picard — award-winning public health reporter at The Globe and Mail and acclaimed public policy consultant — joined other leaders in health and social sustainability to outline ideas for what needs to happen to create a healthier Vancouver.

Healthy City Strategy documents

City of Vancouver documents

Other key reference documents

Activities to date and next steps

Next steps

  • June 2014: Healthy City Strategy – draft document
  • June 2014: Presentation to Council for approval
  • Summer – Fall 2014: Development of first 3-year action plan

Consultations on A Healthy City for All: June 2012 – May 2014

  • Spring 2014: Talk Healthy City for All: Public engagement on reaching 2025 targets – online and in-person events
  • April 2014: Second meeting of the Healthy City for All Leadership Table
  • January 2014: First meeting of the Healthy City for All Leadership Table
  • July 2013: Update to Council
  • March 2013: Memorandum of Understanding with Vancouver Coastal Health finalized
  • Ongoing: Consultations on draft strategy with key departments and partners
  • June 2012: Healthy People, Healthy City 2012 Summit  

Internal Consultations on a Healthy City Strategy: October 2011 – May 2012

  • Joint COV-VCH Healthy City working group established
  • Healthy City Framework developed
  • Priority action areas identified
  • Draft Memorandum of Understanding between COV and VCH established

Internal Consultations on Urban Health: September 2010 – September 2011

  • Internal consultations with City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health
  • Strategic alignment of work across City and VCH
  • Partnered learning through shared workshops
  • Presentation to Council
  • Quick Start actions taken (e.g., compulsive hoarding project; DTES washroom accessibility; coordination on 14 housing sites)

Work leading up to this Healthy City Strategy

Historically, urban planning and public health came together to address the most pressing challenges of the new industrial cities of the 19th century, which were marked by overcrowding, unsanitary and inhumane conditions, and rampant disease.

Increasingly, urban planning and public health are re-connecting to address the most pressing challenges of the 21st century city – such as growing income inequality, increasingly unaffordable housing, and significant mental health and addiction issues. These and other complex issues are bringing the need for holistic healthy city planning once again to the fore.

The importance of a sustainable city

Where we live really matters, and the City of Vancouver has a long history of initiatives which have focused on enhancing the health and well-being of the people who live, work and play here.

A sustainable city is one that protects and enhances the immediate and long-term well-being of a city and its citizens, while providing the highest quality of life possible. Sustainability requires integrated decision-making that takes into account economic, ecological, and social impacts as a whole.

Including health in city planning

Planning health into our urban environment can do much to increase health and well-being for all citizens.

Urban planning and governance not only influences the air we breathe and the water we drink, but also our ability to get around, where and in what type of housing we live, what food we can most easily access, what kinds of jobs are available and how long it takes us to get to them, how much and what kind of green space we can play and rest in, and how safe, connected and included we feel in our neighbourhoods.

What we choose to do now will have a profound effect not only on the health of current populations but on generations to come.

According to the World Health Organization, for the first time in history, more people live in cities than rural areas – by 2030 over 60% of the world’s population will live in an urban setting, rising to 70% by 2050. Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy shows that in Canada, 90% of our population lives in cities, and in Vancouver that population is expected to grow by 23% to an estimated 740,000 by 2040.

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Last modified: Tue, 18 Mar 2014 16:06:10

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