ULI Houston News

Building Healthy Places: How Does Houston Stack Up?

Part 1 of the BHP Blog Post Series
Written By: Adele Houghton, AIA; MPH; LEED AP


Since 2013, the ULI Building Healthy Places (BHP) Initiative has championed developments that support human health through design.

The Building Healthy Places Toolkit, published in 2014, distills the results of the Initiative’s research and convening activities to provide evidence-backed, health-promoting development strategies in three areas:

  • Physical Activity
  • Food & Water
  • Environment

The 21 action-oriented recommendations in the Toolkit are designed to be applicable to all locations and all real estate product sectors. However, with so many strategies to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start.

The Houston District Council’s Building Healthy Places committee has launched this blog post series to help ULI members identify the Toolkit strategies that most directly address the health concerns of a future development’s occupants and its immediate surroundings.

A number of reports and online resources are available in the Houston area that give both a bird’s-eye view of our most pressing health concerns in aggregate as well as the unique concerns of specific neighborhoods. For example:

The State of Health: Houston & Harris County 2015-2016 — a report co-sponsored by Harris County Healthcare Alliance, Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, University of Texas School of Public Health Center for Health Services Research Institute for Health Policy, Harris Health System, Episcopal Health Foundation, The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD, and Harris Pollution Control Services — paints an overall picture of the region’s health successes and challenges.

Geographic Health Profiles by Super Neighborhood — City of Houston Health and Human Services

Harris County Health Rankings — Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Health of Houston Survey 2010 — UT Health Science Center

Healthy Communities Indicator Report 2013 — Center for Houston’s Future

Memorial Hermann ‐ Texas Medical Center Hospital Community Health Needs Assessment 2013 — Memorial Hermann

What Accounts for Health Disparities: Findings from the Houston Surveys (2001-2013) — Rice University Kinder Institute for Urban Research

This list is not exhaustive by any means. We welcome your input and suggestions. Please add links to additional sources of local public health and environmental data in the comments area below this post.

In future blog posts, we will use the BHP Toolkit’s categories as a guide to understanding which health concerns are most relevant to Houston as a whole, and which ones may be of greater interest to specific neighborhoods.

We will also highlight local case studies demonstrating how to use specific BHP strategies to promote health. Please contact Misty Loocke if you would like to propose a local BHP case study.

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