Staff Contact: 

Loralee Morrow, Regional Planner – 802-457-3188 ext 20

In October TRORC and its partners completed a guide to healthy communities and local planning.  Driven in large part by the ECV: What We Want Healthy Communities goal (Goal A: Ensure community health issues are integrated into all local and regional planning policies), this project was a collaborative effort between Windsor County Prevention Partners, Mt. Ascutney Prevention Partnership, Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC), Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission, and Health Connections of the Upper Valley, Inc.  The guide, entitled “Supporting Healthy Communities: What Can Towns Do?”, represents a collaborative analysis of the nexus between community health and planning.

Why Support Healthy Communities?

Newspaper headlines related to health are often centered on current, unhealthy conditions that are a burden or costly to our society. Less often do we read about the work that local towns, organizations or communities in general are doing to improve the health of citizens now and in the future.

The American Planners Association defines Planning as “… a dynamic profession that works to improve the welfare of people and their communities by creating more convenient, equitable, healthful, efficient, and attractive places for present and future generations.”

Community health advocates, such as substance abuse prevention coalitions or multi-sector community partnerships, are seeing the value in working with planners because they, too, work to plan for and take action to achieve healthy communities.

Planners and health advocates generally agree that public health, safety and welfare are instrumental for sustainable, vital communities. In addition, cultures of health are an economic development driver in that they preserve historic character of Vermont villages and protect and maintain Vermont’s reputation for high-quality, healthy recreation.

Many factors combine together to affect the health of individuals and communities. Personal health is determined by circumstances and environment. Factors such as where we live, our diet and lifestyle, the state of our environment, genetics, our income, education level, and our relationships with friends and family all have considerable impacts on health. The more commonly considered factors such as access to and use of health care services often have less of an impact.

By providing a subset of tools and actionable strategies, this guide attempts to encourage both planning and health promotion efforts to address the environmental factors that contribute to the health and well being of citizens.  Download the guide below.