In March 2016, NHS England announced Barking Riverside as one of ten demonstrator Healthy New Towns as part of a commitment in the NHS Five Year Forward View to dramatically improve population health, and integrate health and care services as new places are built and take shape. Each of the sites is an area with significant housing development, presenting a unique opportunity to shape the health of communities, and to rethink how health and care services can be delivered.
At Barking Riverside, we aim to design and deliver interventions which increase healthy life expectancy, reduce health inequalities, and support inclusion and healthy ageing for all those living and working in the locality. To achieve this, we are drawing on international, national and local evidence and good practice across all the wider social, economic and environmental determinants of health; as well as working closely with the local community to identify their priorities.
As an important first step, 10 'healthy new town principles' have been incorporated into the 'Section 106' planning agreement between the developers and the borough.These are based on existing borough policies combined with evidence of what works in healthy place-making.The principles will be put into practice alongside other local strategies, such as transport and the sustainable environment, and reflected in all subsequent Sub-planning Frameworks (SPFs) for Barking Riverside such as the Infrastructure SPF which is being drafted in Autumn 2016.
Our healthy new town principles are:1.Actively promoting and enabling community leadership and participation in planning, design and management of buildings, facilities and the surrounding environment and infrastructure to improve health and reduce health inequalities.
2.Reducing health inequalities through addressing wider determinants of health such as the promotion of good quality local employment, affordable housing, environmental sustainability and education and skill development.
3.Providing convenient and equitable access to innovative models of local healthcare services and social infrastructure, with the promotion of self care and prevention of ill health.
4.Providing convenient and equitable access to a range of interesting and stimulating open spaces and natural environments ("green" and "blue" spaces) providing informal and formal recreation opportunities for all age groups.
5.Ensuring the development embodies the principles of lifetime neighbourhoods and promotes independent living.
6.Promoting access to fresh, healthy and locally sourced food (e.g. community gardens, local enterprise) and managing the type and quantity of fast-food outlets
7.Encouraging active travel, ensuring cycling and walking is a safer and more convenient alternative to the car for journeys within and without the development and providing interesting and stimulating cycle/footpaths.
8.Creating safe, convenient, accessible, well designed built environment and interesting public spaces and social infrastructure that encourages community participation and social inclusion for all population groups including: older people, vulnerable adults, low income groups and children.
9.Embracing the Smart Cities agenda by incorporating and future-proofing for new technology and innovation that improves health outcomes across a range of areas both at an individual level and also within the public realm.
10.Ensuring workplaces, schools, indoor and outdoor sports and leisure facilities, the public realm and open spaces are well designed in ways which promote an active and healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, healthy diet and positive mental health.
Author: Catherine Max, Senior Associate, Iken Associates
Photo: ThamesFest at Barking Riverside Copyright UEL SRI/Vandergert