Planning healthier cities is essential for public health. However, there is a gap between the insights from public health research and applications to planning practice. Based on a scoping review and in cooperation with urban planners and public health professionals, this study developed evidence-based tools and a comprehensive approach to help urban planners integrate health into the urban master plan (2017–2020) of a medium-sized city named Vic (Barcelona).
The scoping review included a systematic review of the literature (PubMed, PRISMA protocol) and an advanced Google search for grey literature (2015–2017). The systematic review identified significant associations between urban planning attributes (n = 16) and health outcomes (n = 21). After critical appraisal with stakeholders, an urban and health association matrix was developed to help urban planners understand the connection between urban planning and health. The advanced Google search identified urban planning actions (n = 117) that had an impact on health outcomes. After critical appraisal with stakeholders, a healthy urban planning actions checklist (n = 68) was developed to help urban planners’ decision-making on the inclusion of locally tailored health-enhancing urban planning actions into the urban master plan.
From the reviewed evidence and tools, a comprehensive approach delineated a series of steps that successfully led urban planners to incorporate health-enhancing urban actions (n = 112) into the urban master plan. This translational research developed a comprehensive approach to include health in local urban planning. This might scale up to other European medium-sized cities to maximise the effectiveness of built environment interventions and monitor their health impact.