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Health Equity and Community Design Toolbox

A toolbox to incorporate health equity into community design and placemaking plans, ideas, and projects that center increased access for all including historically marginalized and underrepresented groups including racial and ethnic minority populations and rural communities.

Health Equity and Quality of Life

Health equity is the attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Health equity exists when all people have a fair and just opportunity to be healthy and well and obstacles to health and healthcare and preventable health disparities are eliminated It is achieved when those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage, historical injustice, and other avoidable systemic and structural inequalities that are often associated with social constructs of race, gender, ethnicity, social position, religion, sexual orientation, and disability.

Health is shaped by where we live, learn, work, play, and worship. Some people in Vermont have more opportunities than others to enjoy good health and a high quality of life.

Health: Communities promote physical, social, and mental well-being so that all people can live healthier and more active lives.

Equity: All people can attain the resources and opportunities to improve their quality of life and enable them to reach their potential.
Quality of life is an individual’s perception of their position in life based on the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their personal goals, expectations, standards, and concerns. It is made up of five domains: physical health, psychological condition, independence, relationships with others, and the environment one lives in. The way we design our built environments affects community livability. In turn, this can impact our physical, social, and mental health and well-being.

Healthy communities

Healthy communities are places where fair opportunities exist for everyone to:

  • Enjoy a livable environment (planet), a vibrant economy (prosperity) and a just society (people).
  • Live to the fullest potential regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, income, age, abilities, or other socially defined circumstances.


Healthy Community Design

Healthy community planning integrates evidence-based health strategies into community planning, transportation, and land-use decisions to:

  • Create livable and healthy places.
  • Build resilient communities and strong people.

Tools in the toolbox

  • Health Data and Measurable Health Objectives