Health policy, Dr. Richard Jackson says, is about more than medical care. It is about farm policy. Transportation. Housing. And so much more. Because how healthy we are is determined largely by where and how we live. Jackson, a professor of Environmental Health Services at the UCLA School of Public Health and the former state health officer for California, is an expert on the connections between urban design and health. He was the lead speaker at a conference in Sacramento last month that brought together environmentalists, planners, physicians and developers to share ideas and look for common ground on issues connecting the urban environment and health.
The city of Richmond is close to adopting a new way of planning for the city’s future, adding a “health and wellness” element to its general plan that will force developers to address new concerns when they design neighborhoods or other projects. The city believes it would be the first in the nation with such a comprehensive requirement.