Healthy Environments

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 the Health and Places Initiative at Harvard, and the earlier Design for Health, programs that help 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

2017     Forthcoming. A. Forsyth, E. Salomon, and L. Smead. Creating Healthy Neighborhoods: Evidence-based Planning and Design Strategies. Chicago: APA Planners Press.
2017 A. Forsyth. Evidence-based Practice: Challenges in a Changing World. In T. Beatley, C. Jones, and R. Rainey eds, Healthy Environments, Healing Spaces: Current Practices and Future Directions in Health, City Planning, and Design. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press.
2016     A. Forsyth. When Public Health and Planning Closely Intersected: Five Moments; Five Strategies, plus several large photos. In D. Mah and L. Ascencio Villoria eds. Life-Styled: Health and Places. Berlin: Jovis.
2015     A. Forsyth, M. Wall, T. Choo, N. Larson, D. Van Riper, D. Neumark-Sztainer. Perceived and Police-Reported Neighborhood Crime: Linkages to Adolescent Activity Behaviors and Weight Status. Journal of Adolescent Health 57, 2: 222-228.
2015     A. Forsyth. Holistic Planning. Harvard Design Magazine. 40: 7.
2014  J.M. Berge., M. Wall., N. Larson, A Forsyth, K. W. Bauer, D. Neumark-Sztainer. Youth Dietary Intake and Weight Status: Healthful Neighborhood Food Environments Enhance the Protective role of Supportive Family Home Environments. Health and Place 26: 69-77
2014     Health and Places Initiative (Principal Investigator).
A. Forsyth, ed. Health Assessment series (Contributors A. Forsyth, L. Smead, E. Salomon, and others).
A. Forsyth and L. Smead, eds. Research Brief series. (Contributors L:Smead and others).
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.


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

Design for Health