Principles for connecting health, equity, and place

About the Framework

How can public spaces contribute to health equity? Despite the growing evidence connecting place and health, there are few available resources to help planners, policymakers, and communities design, fund, and operate public spaces that fulfill individual and community well-being.

The Inclusive Healthy Places (IHP) Framework was created to fill this gap. Building on extensive research, it captures the wide array of factors that contribute to healthier, more equitable public spaces. But it doesn't just build understanding of the connections between health, equity, and place. By providing a set of indicators and metrics for gauging progress, it helps practitioners take action — ensuring these factors are integrated into and measured throughout the lifecycle of a public space project.



IHP Book



Report  ·  Overview


Inside the Framework


RWJF Wheel

The Framework has been a way for us to recognize history and what has been taken away from communities.



Take the time to understand and confront a community’s history and conditions before entering the design process


  • Identify and amplify local assets and leaders
  • Acknowledge histories of discrimination and exclusion
  • Understand community health context


Illustrative Metric  ·  Proportion of open spaces to land area
Explore  ·  Metrics Guide


Guide community participation that elevates local voices and accounts for diverse people and needs


  • Engage a diverse and representative cross-section of the community
  • Encourage co-creation and interactive engagement methods
  • Build on the work of existing groups and processes


Illustrative Metric  ·  Allocation of funding available for community-generated projects per capita
Explore  ·  Metrics Guide

One of the benefits of IHP is taking a cutting-edge approach to meaningful engagement. Lots of people are using these concepts, but IHP puts them together into a framework.


We often hear, ‘Well this is beyond our role. The transportation department does that.’ The framework helps people think more broadly about their projects.



Create a place that invites all people, through inclusive design and responsive, consistent programming and activation


  • Design for quality and tailor to local context
  • Set the stage for diverse and representative visitorship and social interaction
  • Create a consistent array of invitations to activate the space


Illustrative Metric  · Ratio of allocated space for flexible programming
Explore  ·  Metrics Guide


Strategize and secure long-range operational funding to ensure equitable outcomes over time


  • Embed flexibility into physical and programmatic infrastructure
  • Secure long-range maintenance and operations funding
  • Create systems for ongoing community governance and representation


Illustrative Metric  · Presence of and funding for ongoing maintenance of the space
Explore  ·  Metrics Guide

The sustainability side is resonating — we're getting more requests for long-range funding earlier on in the process.