3rd Edition

Shaping Neighbourhoods For Local Health and Global Sustainability

By Hugh Barton, Marcus Grant, Richard Guise Copyright 2021
    432 Pages
    by Routledge

    432 Pages
    by Routledge

    Shaping Neighbourhoods is unique in combining all aspects of the spatial planning of neighbourhoods and towns whilst emphasising positive outcomes for people’s health and global sustainability. This new edition retains the combination of radicalism, evidence-based advice and pragmatism that made earlier editions so popular.

    This updated edition strengthens guidance in relation to climate change and biodiversity, tackling crises of population health that are pushing up health-care budgets, but have elements of their origins in poor place spatial planning – such as isolation, lack of everyday physical activity, and respiratory problems. It is underpinned by new research into how people use their localities, and the best way to achieve inclusive, healthy, low-carbon settlements.

     The guide can assist with:

    • Understanding the principles for planning healthy and sustainable neighbourhoods and towns

    • Planning collaborative and inclusive processes for multi-sectoral working

    • Developing know-how and skills in matching local need with urban form

    • Discovering new ways to integrate development with natural systems

    • Designing places with character and recognising good urban form

    Whether you are a student faced with a local planning project; a public health professional, planner, urban designer or developer involved in new development or regeneration; a council concerned with promoting healthy and sustainable environments; or a community group wanting to improve your neighbourhood – you will find help here.

    Chapter 1. Orientation and Principles

    Chapter 2. A Neighbourhood Planning Process

    Chapter 3. Providing for Local Need

    Chapter 4. Working With Natural Systems

    Chapter 5. Neighbourhood Strategy

    Chapter 6. Neighbourhood Design and Placemaking


    Hugh Barton is well known for his long history of innovation for healthier and more sustainable places. He is an urban planner and Emeritus Professor of planning, health and sustainability at the University of the West of England, Bristol. In the early 1980s, he co-founded the Urban Centre for Appropriate Technology, now the Centre for Sustainable Energy. Later he was Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments, working with cities across Europe. He is also a prolific author. Early publications include Sustainable Settlements and Sustainable Communities. In 2000, the WHO commissioned him to write the ground-breaking Healthy Urban Planning, more recently he has published The Routledge Handbook for Health and Well-being and City of Well-being: A Radical Guide to Planning. In ‘retirement’ Hugh is a trustee for environmental charities, composes music, directs choirs, climbs mountains and enjoys his extended family.

    Marcus Grant has a background in ecological systems and urbanism, and is an urban designer and landscape architect. In practice since 1986, he worked on rural and urban projects for a range of clients. Following almost twenty years at the World Health Organisation’s Collaborating Centre for Healthy Cities, culminating as deputy director and Associate Professor, he went on to found Cities & Health, a Routledge journal. He specialises in spatial frameworks and neighbourhood interventions to support healthier lives, planetary health and reduce health inequalities. He has worked as expert advisor with the WHO and UN-Habitat, with communities and local authorities across Europe and on the inaugural public health NIHR scientific funding panel. Marcus is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health by distinction.

    Richard Guise is an architect and town planner, principal of his urban design consultancy Context4D, based in Bristol. He is known for his evocative and perceptive drawings. Formerly, Course Leader of the MA Urban Design programme at the University of the West of England, his career fuses professional and academic aspects of urban design. Richard is co-author of Characterising Neighbourhoods, Sustainable Settlements and two volumes of Streets for All for English Heritage. He now works mainly for local authorities, producing design guides, urban character reports, urban design frameworks and training. Richard is an Academician of the Academy of Urbanism, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Design West design review panel.

    "This latest edition of Shaping Neighbourhoods is a book that has, like all the places we love most, matured with time. The issues are thoroughly researched and the illustrations are both beautiful, yet clear and practical, making it an essential manual that should be on the desk of every mayor, local authority and others responsible for planning our towns and cities at all scales. It has a vital role to play when seeking to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals. I have no doubt that it will contribute to the making of more loveable and liveable neighbourhoods."

    George Ferguson CBE, People & Cities, First Elected Mayor of Bristol 2012-16, Past President Royal Institute of British Architects

    "This book provides a unique and refreshing approach to understanding how neighbourhoods impact population health and to identifying policy actions that can leverage the power of neighbourhoods to help us achieve health equity. One especially novel aspect of the book is how the themes of neighborhood health impacts, environmental sustainability, and equity are interwoven in ways that are insightful and that lend support for a transformative way to think about the health and environmental co-benefits of urban planning policies. The use of case studies and the global reach of the book also make it especially useful and novel. The presentation is also compelling with many figures, diagrams and visual representations. An outstanding addition to existing books on urban planning, neighborhoods, and health with a much needed environmental sustainability focus."

    Ana V Diez Roux, Dean Dornsife School of Public Health, Director Urban Health Collaborative, Drexel University, Philadelphia USA

    "Launched in the middle of a pandemic that emerged on top of an obesity epidemic and a climate emergency, this timely book provides practical guidance about how to create healthy, liveable and sustainable neighbourhoods. This is not a dress rehearsal: on our watch the world is urbanising, the population is growing, greenhouse emissions are rising, the climate is changing, biodiversity is being lost, cars are clogging and polluting our cities and chronic diseases are escalating – the impacts on human and planetary health are massive and the need for action, long overdue. We need to rethink our cities, ensuring they are underpinned by healthy, liveable and sustainable neighbourhoods - not for some, but for all. With the Hippocratic oath – first do no harm – firmly in their sight, this book equips public health professionals to work with, and advocate for, built environment professionals and sectors to adopt this edict, and critically, to undertake the integrated planning and implementation, needed to deliver the cities vitally need."

    Billie Giles-Corti, Distinguished Professor and RMIT VC Professorial Fellow, RMIT University, Melbourne Australia

    "Shaping Neighbourhoods is a most readable and engaging book. It brings to life neighbourhoods that enhance human health, wellbeing and social sustainability while responding to the climate crisis. The wealth of evidence and case studies presented in the book facilitate the understanding of those connections and engagement around neighbourhood solutions.

    The reader can easily navigate to their area of need or concern and find evidence-based responses to a wide range of challenges faced by neighbourhoods, drawing on the sharp writing and good layout. A comprehensive set of issues are examined; from urban design; to what works for specific groups in the population; to planning for travel; to housing and access to services; as well as natural systems (biodiversity, energy, food). The book identifies the key issues and principles in responding to the issue in question, presenting supporting evidence and case studies of local solutions. It goes on to outline strategies that can guide the transformation process. The beauty of the author’s problem-solving approach is that it integrates social context and the links with upstream determinants of health and sustainability. I see it as systems thinking in practice, grounded and focused on the issues at stake at the neighbourhood level.

    As a worker in public health and a physician I see the appeal this book has for the practitioner. It speaks to the public health professional and helps envision the implementation of Health in All Policies. A very timely contribution at a moment when the pandemic is shedding light into the key role neighborhoods play in maintaining people healthy, but where the public health response has yet to fully integrate place-based solutions as part of the strategy. The book is clearly anchored in local and territorial planning, and has in-depth sensitivity, perception and understanding of how it links with health, wellbeing and sustainability issues. This is compelling reading, a success in integrated thinking for the local level and a beautiful illustration of how to locally implement high level goals such as the SDGs."

    Carlos Dora, MD PhD, President of the International Society for Urban Health

    "The new edition of this remarkable and valuable classic book is a welcome contribution to planning and urban design theory and practice in shaping towns and neighbourhoods that deliver sustainable and healthy places for the 21st century. It is both authoritative and comprehensive and includes global as well as local concerns about climate challenges, health, economic and social issues as well as the processes through which we engage in planning and other aspects of delivering sustainable places.

    The book follows the same structure as the previous editions so it is easy to follow a well-known and tested format though the individual sections are updated and expanded to take into consideration the latest ecological and health crises and thinking about sustainability, health and place-making. The book is informed by relevant theories and research as well as processes and policies through which we shape our towns and neighbourhoods. Practical case studies are well-chosen and selected from UK and international locations that demonstrate original and innovative approaches to solving problems.

    The book is beautifully produced with crisp and informative writing style, excellent graphic illustrations, photographs and useful diagrams and check-lists. The authors of the book bring in their own expertise whilst also connecting to other authoritative sources and shared common ground concerns and debates. This latest edition will be invaluable to built environment and health professionals, politicians, developers, civic and community groups as well as students and academia."

    Georgia Butina Watson, Professor of Urban Design, School of the Built Environment, Oxford Brookes University

    "Building on the solid foundations of its predecessors, this completely revised and updated third edition of Shaping Neighbourhoods is an essential guide for planning and public health practitioners, researchers and teachers alike. Not only does it bring to the fore the most recent research evidence for sustainable, equitable and health supportive local environments, it showcases international case studies illustrating successful on-the-ground implementation of the principles espoused throughout. This new edition of Shaping Neighbourhoods contextualises the critical lessons of the COVID Pandemic, particularly the key role that the local environment plays in community health and wellbeing. Interdisciplinary ways-of-working are championed, with clear guidance for decision-makers across health and urban planning to create a better world for all life on our planet.

    Heartfelt congratulations to authors Hugh Barton, Marcus Grant and Richard Guise whose combined expertise, principled commitment and personal passion for the messages in this book shine through!"

    Susan Thompson, Professor of Planning and Head, City Wellbeing Program, City Futures Research Centre, School of the Built Environment, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

    "The third edition of Shaping Neighbourhoods provides comprehensive guidance to how an inclusive planning, design and management process can contribute to making neighbourhoods healthy and sustainable. The book addresses a wide spectrum of topics: community engagement, sustainability, neighbourhood planning, spatial planning and place-making.

    The importance of the health and well-being of communities is increasingly being recognised as a key element to counter the challenges of climate change, ecological emergencies and global pandemics. The message of the book is clear: we need to put enhanced health equity, social well-being and neighbourhood sustainability strategies at the heart of urban planning.

    The book is an essential reference manual for built environment and health professionals, students and community leaders. It distils, based on extensive research of international best practice, strategies to achieve healthy and sustainable neighbourhoods. The range and quality of the information, illustrated by superb diagrams and photographs, will make this excellent publication an essential reference for all those with an interest and involvement in a healthy and sustainable future for our urban environments."

    Tony Reddy Chair, Academy of Urbanism