Development of an Urban Health Impact Assessment methodology: indicating the health equity impacts of urban policies


Pennington, A., H. Dreaves, A. Scott-Samuel, F. Haigh, A. Harrison, A. Verma and D. Pope “Development of an Urban Health Impact Assessment methodology: indicating the health equity impacts of urban policies.” The European Journal of Public Health. 2015.


Background: An overarching recommendation of the global Commission on Social Determinants of Health was to measure and understand health inequalities and assess the impact of action. In a rapidly urbanising world, now is the time for Urban HIA. This article describes the development of robust and easy-to-use HIA tools to identify and address health inequalities from new urban policies. Methods: Rapid reviews and consultation with experts identified existing HIA screening tools and methodologies which were then analyzed against predefined selection criteria. A draft Urban HIA Screening Tool (UrHIST) and Urban HIA methodology (UrHIA) were synthesised. The draft tools were tested and refined using a modified Delphi approach that included input from urban and public health experts, practitioners and policy makers. Results: The outputs were two easy-to-use stand-alone urban HIA tools. The reviews and consultations identified an underpinning conceptual framework. The screening tool is used to determine whether a full HIA is required, or for a brief assessment. Urban health indicators are a readily available and efficient means of identifying variations in the health of populations potentially affected by policies. Indicators are, however, currently underutilised in HIA practice. This may limit the identification of health inequalities by HIA and production of recommendations. The new tools utilise health indicator data more fully. UrHIA also incorporates a hierarchy of evidence for use during impact analysis. Conclusion: The new urban HIA tools have the potential to enhance the rigour of HIAs and improve the identification and amelioration of health inequalities generated by urban policies.


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