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Linking Environmental and Human Health in English Urban Development Decision-Making: The Human Health Literacy of Environmental Policy

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In this paper we provide an overview of the UK environmental regulatory framework for subnational policy and planning in devolved English urban areas based on a systematic coding of key legislation and policies against a matrix of sustainability a ributes relevant for human health. Our findings suggest that while elements of sustainability at different scales are addressed to varying degrees, we need to move beyond the 'three-legged stool' of sustainability to assess linked environmental and societal health impacts. Assessing policy using a multi-faceted lens of sustainability such as the one we propose can help to uncover health-development dependencies and the incentives and governance required to enhance these at diff erent scales (planetary, regional, neighbourhood and building). We propose a coordinative role for spatial planning to integrate responses to socio-environmental health priorities for sustainable development and make recommendations for dynamic decisionmaking on environmental and human health impacts in urban development se ings. Doing so can help promote just (equitable) transitions, decoupled from a pervasive ecological modernization discourse that frames the political economy of planning at both the national and local levels.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2023

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  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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