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March 01, 2016

Rural Planning: Not Just An Urban Thing

Rural Planning: Not Just An Urban Thing
As we move toward a future packed with uncertainty, we need to embrace change to address the growing complexity of our environmental, social and economic systems. 

Rural communities are home to approximately one in five Ontario residents, who experience unique environments and lived experiences that can contribute to specific, and often negative health outcomes. These health outcomes call for concerted action and responsive public policy.
In response to the need for action, and in keeping with OPPI’s Professional Code of Practice which outlines the professional planner's responsibility to the public interest, The Healthy Rural Communities Toolkit showcases how people and organizations are dealing with growth and identifying the need for change. It was developed to showcase and outline best practices for change and growth in rural communities to assist in transformation to better health and wellness.
How is this toolkit useful for you?
Land use and development strategies that enhance the rural built environment and contribute to positive quality of life and health outcomes are identified in the toolkit. It brings a rural lens to issues often viewed from an urban perspective. The toolkit also recognizes characteristics usually associated with rural communities including low density or declining populations, aging citizens, youth-out migration, rural land use, and the rural economy.
Rural municipalities including planners, health unit staff and elected officials will find it beneficial, although it will also help other interested community members advocate for healthier communities and populations.

Share Your Story

We hope to create momentum around building healthy rural communities in Ontario by sharing success stories and best practices which fit into one of the 13 actions outlined in the toolkit:
1)    Community Design and Land Use Planning 

2)    Active Transportation

3)    Community Engagement and Capacity Building 

4)    Water Quality
5)    Air Quality
6)    Tourism
7)    Planning for Special Age Groups
8)    Agriculture
9)    Cultural Strategies and Revitalization
10)  Access to Local Food
11)  Nature 
12)  Safe and Affordable Housing
13)  Climate Change
Have you worked on a successful, innovative planning project which prioritizes healthy rural communities? Please share it with us in the comments below or by email to be entered in a draw for Tim Horton's gift cards! Winners will be announced via OPPI’s Twitter account.
Many planning projects are contributing to healthy communities. If you are uncertain if your project fits into one of the 13 key actions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Many projects do fit, despite what you think. We welcome all emails.


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The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author(s), and may not reflect the position of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute.

Post by Taylor Wellings & Jenn Burns

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