All Academic Programs

Ann Forsyth

Caption: Urban agriculture in a rapidly growing area in Beihai, China.

Credit: Ann Forsyth.


Healthy Environments

Principal Investigator

Ann Forsyth


Numerous collaborators from the University ofMinnesota, University of Colorado, and elsewhere


Dates of project:


How the built environment affects physical activity and how changes in the environment can promote active living are issues that have captured public attention. There are many other links between health and the built environment, however, from air quality and noise to the accessibility of food and nearby nature. The healthy environments project has examined some of these multiple connections between health and place.

One aspect of this work is practical—translating research from the health fields into guidelines for practice. This is exemplified in the work of Design for Health a program that helps create and synthesize the evidence base linking landscape, urban design, planning, and health. In doing this practical work I have developed a number of tools for linking health and place including a suite of health impact assessments.

Other research has looked in more depth aspects of healthy environments with more technical projects examining physical activity and food access (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and National Institutes of Health including the Twin Cities Walking Study, TREC-IDEA, ECHO,  EAT projects).

Selected Publications

2012     A. Forsyth, D. Van Riper, N. Larson, M. Wall, D. Neumark-Sztainer. Creating a Replicable, Cross-Platform Buffering Technique: The Sausage Network Buffer for Measuring Food and Physical Activity Built Environments. International Journal of Health Geographics. 11:14.

2010    K. Krizek, A. Forsyth, and C. Shively Slotterback. Is There a Role for Evidence-Based Practice in Urban Planning and Policy? Journal of Planning Theory and Practice 10, 4: 455–474.

2010    A. Forsyth, C. Schively Slotterback, and K. Krizek. Health Impact Assessments in Planning: Development and Testing of the Design for Health HIA Tools. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 30: 42-51.

2010    A. Forsyth, C. Schively Slotterback, and K. Krizek. Health Impact Assessment for Planners: What Tools are Useful? Journal of Planning Literature. 24, 3: 231-245.

2009    R. Brownson, C.Hoehner, K. Day, A. Forsyth, J. Sallis. Measuring the Built Environment for Physical Activity: State of the Art. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 36, 4s: s99-s123.

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