Healthy Places

Creating better environments that support healthy behaviours for children and families in deprived areas

The Healthy Places theme of ActEarly aims to improve understanding of the importance of environments in the prevention of non-communicable diseases and poor mental health and wellbeing.

Our focus is how changes to the built and natural environments – which make them safer, less polluted and more attractive – can support healthier lifestyles for children, young people and families by encouraging more physical activity and by connecting people to each other and what’s happening in their community.

Our planned research has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen dramatic changes to the way people use transport, streets and parks in both Bradford and Tower Hamlets – including the many street space changes made to accommodate more walking and cycling.

Exemplars of our work include:

Healthy School Streets

We are evaluating the Healthy School Streets programme in Bradford and Tower Hamlets. The programme aims to encourage physical activity and reduce pollution by creating more greenery, and support learning and development. It works with children and parents, schools, local residents and businesses to make changes that could include restricting traffic at the start and end of school days, widening pavements and making road crossings safertree plantinggreen walls to filter air, and gardens to learn more about nature.

Liveable Neighbourhoods

The Liveable Neighbourhoods programme aims to change the built environment to bring more activities to streets and encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport. Tower Hamlets Council has funding to introduce Liveable Streets to 60 per cent of its area over the next 4 years.

Regenerating Horton Park in Bradford

We are exploring the impact of regenerating a large park in Bradford on families living in nearby disadvantaged neighbourhoods supported by the EU project Life Critical. We will explore the potential of parks to improve citizens’ quality of life and encourage their participation in implementing measures in the park that can help reduce the impact of climate change.

New tools to evaluate place-based interventions 

We have developed the Health And Place Intervention Evaluation (HAPIE) tool which uses standard measure of wellbeing, physical activity, play and street perception surveys combined with measures of housing such as overcrowding. This provides information about how the quality of indoor and outdoor space affects family health and wellbeing.

The impact of housing quality on health and wellbeing

We are looking at housing quality data in the Families in Tower Hamlets: impacts of Covid-19 study led by the healthy livelihoods team. This will include gaining a qualitative understanding how the physical characteristics of living space has affected families during lockdown.

To find out more about Healthy Places contact the theme leads

Additional Resources

ActEarly: Healthy Places: ActEarly aims to promote early life changes to improve health and opportunities for children. In this video we focus on the work of our Healthy Places theme, highlighting why healthy places are vital to our health and wellbeing
Taking a deep breath: air pollution in Bradford; In this video we illustrate why air pollution is a major public health concern and how efforts are being made to improve air quality.

Want to Contact The Team?

Want to find out more about Act Early and our work? Email us to ask questions, find out about volunteering or share your ideas.