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Healthy Complete Communities

In support of our vision of Community for Life, the Region of Peel is reimagining how our communities are designed.

We're imagining neighbourhoods where biking to work is more convenient than driving, playing outside is more fun than screen time and key amenities are just a short walk away.

We imagine thriving communities where fresh, healthy food is available and people have access to plenty of green space and ways to be active.

This is our vision for Peel. Find out what we’re doing to bring it to life!

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Our surroundings affect our health

Public Health professionals have known for a long time that where we live affects our health. The design of your community influences the path you take to work or school, what you eat and how often you engage in physical activity.

Today 85% of Canadian adults and 93% of children do not get the recommended level of daily physical activity. This is mostly due to changes in our modern lifestyle. People work in more sedentary jobs, spend more time in cars and feel less safe letting children play outside.

Busy lifestyles, the rising costs of healthy meals and the wide range of fast food restaurants inspire us to eat on the go. These changes to our lifestyle and environment are connected to increasing rates of obesity and diabetes.

To help reverse the trends, we're laying the foundation for a healthier future.

See us in the news: Regional Medical Officer of Health on Breakfast Television
Check out other recent news

Short Stats About Health in Peel

This video shows some of the health outcomes we are seeing in Peel and why we need to change the way our communities are designed to better support healthy living.

Other information

Today, the health of our residents is a top concern. We think about this when new communities are planned and existing neighbourhoods ae redeveloped. We're working with our area municipalities and developers to create walkable, bike-friendly, complete communities. We want to meet the needs of our growing population.

We are leaders in understanding the relationship between health, land use and transportation planning. Visit our News and Council Updates page for details on our current work and ongoing support we receive from Regional Council and our municipal partners.

Our progress so far

  • With our partners across Canada we created new tools and guidelines to help planners, developers, policy makers and public health professionals make more health-informed decisions.
  • Our updated Official Plan puts health criteria top of mind.
  • We created a Healthy Development Framework that contains tools to evaluate new development proposals, ensuring resident health is always considered
  • Our Climate Change Strategy will help protect our population from the health impacts of environmental change.

A healthy complete community is one that builds activity into our everyday life. It is a walkable neighbourhood with access to services, amenities, employment, recreation, green-space, social connection and public transit.

Key features of a healthy and complete community include:

Service proximity

Describes the distance between your home and public transit, community services, retail and employment opportunities. The shorter the distance, the more people will walk, use public transit, bike, and take advantage of recreational options.

Land use mix

Looks at the variety housing types, services and employment in an area. The more varied the mix of services and housing in a given area, the more complete and walkable that area becomes.

Street connectivity

Ensures destinations link well together with safe sidewalks and direct roads. It affects how quickly, safely and conveniently people can move from one place to another.

Streetscaping

Refers to the features of a street. This includes sidewalks, benches, bike racks, bike lanes, well-design intersections, trees and attractive landscaping design. It improves the experience, usefulness and safety of walking and biking a given route.

Efficient parking

Supports more active ways of getting around, including walking, biking, and public transit by limiting vehicle use. It also looks at on and off-street parking for vehicles and bikes.

Density

Refers to the number of people, homes and jobs in a specific area. Communities like this are better able to support a variety of services, employment and other amenities within walking distance.

We are committed to enhancing these characteristics in communities across Peel.

We are developing a mapping tool that will monitor how these features are changing in our communities. To find out when the tool launches, join our email list.

By 2041, the Region's population of seniors is estimated to grow by 150%. We need to ensure our communities can support our seniors now and in the future.

Many of our neighbourhoods were designed around the needs of cars. As our population ages, suburban neighbourhoods that depend on cars create barriers and social isolation for many seniors.

The things that make communities healthy for the general population - including walkability, close amenities and safe, attractive streets - are the same things that help seniors stay independent longer.

Our updated Official Plan ensures that age-friendly considerations are a priority in urban planning and land use.

Public Health recognizes the importance of community design in addressing major public health issues.

In the past, our work centred on working with community designers to protect society from infectious diseases. Public health reforms in planning codes and infrastructure were key to fighting the most prominent diseases of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Public health efforts of that era focused on clean drinking water, hygienic sewage systems, improved ventilation, and the creation of public parks. These are now standard practice in how design communities today. They are linked to improved life expectancy.

Today, infectious diseases are no longer the largest threat to the health of our community. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke are the health crisis of modern day.

Once again, the need to reimagine neighbourhoods is central to how we address the health crises of our time.

We work with local municipalities, planning and health researchers to create tools and resources to help design communities that lead to healthy, active lifestyles for our residents.

Improving Health by Design in the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area - GTHA MOH Report