Land Use

Land use, or the way we design our cities, affects health in many ways, including:


  • Environmental sustainability and climate change
  • Exposure to harmful substances
  • Access to resources for healthful living, such as parks and grocery stores
  • The ability to connect with community members
  • Crime
  • Safe access to different transportation modes, such as transit, walking and cycling


The Program on Health, Equity and Sustainability is committed to ensuring that health is considered in land use in San Francisco by engaging in the following activities:


Tool Development: Develop assessment and evaluation tools to measure existing land use conditions and evaluate proposed development plans and projects, by engaging in rigorous review of evidence and engagement of stakeholders.


Evaluation: Provide health expertise in reviewing environmental impact reports, conduct analysis of development plans and projects using land use evaluation tools, and conduct health impact assessments.


Collaboration: Serve on city task forces, collaborate with various city agencies and community groups to ensure that health and equity are considered in the development process.


Training: Provide annual trainings on health impact assessment and use of the Healthy Development Measurement Tool.


Informing Public Policy

Healthy Places Act of 2007

The Healthy Place Act would have created a new program in the California Department of Public Health to guide and support local health impact assessment of land use and transportation planning. The legislation was developed through a collaborative process convened by the Program on Health Equity, and Sustainability in 2006 and Dr. Rajiv Bhatia provided testimony in support of the bill on behalf of the City and County of San Francisco.


Shaping Design and Planning

Cruise Terminal Environmental Advisory Committee

Reviewed environmental initiatives and recommended feasible measures and practices to address air and water quality concerns associated with construction of the new cruise terminal at piers 30-32.


Treasure Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning

Community based transportation planning to create a safe, walkable, bikeable and accessible Treasure Island.


Western SOMA Task Force

Serve on Citizens Planning Task Force to guide development of the Western SOMA Community Plan.


Research and Assessment

The San Francisco Indicator Project

A comprehensive evaluation metric that supports the inclusion and consideration of health needs in urban land use plans and projects.


Eastern Neighborhoods Community Health Impact Assessment

A multi-stakeholder assessment process to ensure that land use planning occurring in the Mission, South of Market, and Potrero Hill/Showplace Square neighborhoods took into account, protected, and improved community health.



An initiative to rebuild San Francisco's severely distressed public housing sites with the explicit goals of improving the health and welfare of existing residents and the quality of life in surrounding communities.


Integrating Health into Environmental Impact Assessment

SFDPH provides supports to the SF Planning Department in conducting health analysis for environmental impact reports (EIRs).


Health Impacts of Displacement and Poor Housing Conditions

Qualitative research to learn about the potential effects on the health and well-being of long-term tenants who faced eviction due to proposed apartment demolition.


HIA Practice Standards

A set of benchmarks to guide HIA practice, and to stimulate discussion about HIA content and quality in this emerging field.


Peer Review Sessions: Healthy Planning Research and Tools

A forum for peer review, education, dissemination, and discussion of tools, resources and research used by professionals in public health, planning and related fields to incorporate health considerations into planning and policy decisions.