Jargon Buster

Communities that are designed so that everyone has the opportunity to be physically active. More information via PlanH.

Active transportation refers to any form of human-powered transportation—walking, cycling, using a wheelchair, in-line skating or skateboarding. More information via Public Health Agency of Canada.

An age-friendly community is one that encourages healthy aging by providing opportunities for health, participation in community life, and security in order to improve community members' quality of life as they age. More information via the World Health Organization.

Using the positive elements that the community already has in order to improve community health and well-being, rather than focusing on problems and needs. Examples include community skills, available spaces, and existing infrastructure. One of the five pillars of the Healthy Communities Approach. More information via Asset-Based Community Development Canada.

The parts of our environment that are created by humans, such as houses and buildings, playgrounds and parks, and transportation networks. More information via Provincial Health Services Authority.

Diseases that are not passed from person to person. They usually last a long time and get worse slowly over time. More information via the World Health Organization.

A group of people who are linked by social ties and share common viewpoints. Communities can be physical, such as cities or towns, or can also be groups of people with shared values, beliefs, and interests. More information via the US National Institutes of Health.

Opportunities for community members to have a say in the decisions, actions and processes that shape their community. One of the five pillars of the Healthy Communities Approach. More information via Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Looking at a community's health challenges and creating strategies to overcome challenges and improve health. More information via the US Public Health Accreditation Board (pdf).

Making plans and policies that decide how a community's buildings, outdoor spaces, transportation and other elements are arranged. More information via the Canadian Institute of Planners.

How well community members can access the social, economic, environmental and cultural assets they need to reach their goals, feel connected to the community and be healthy. More information via University of Minnesota.

An approach to preventing crimes by designing public space in a way that makes crimes harder or less profitable to commit. Examples include adequate lighting for public pathways and making sure walking routes keep individuals highly visible by other members of the public. More information via the International CPTED Association.

A way of providing services to the public that is culturally sensitive and aware of how discrimination and power imbalances
in our systems can affect the quality of service and supports that some people receive. More information via First Nations Health Authority.

Different factors that affect how healthy a person can be. These can include racism, sexism, income inequality, inequitable access to education, disability discrimination (including inaccessibility), housing discrimination, and inequitable access to health services. More information via the National Collaborating Centre for the Social Determinants of Health.

Acceptance and respect for differences in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs or other ways of being. More information via Queensborough Community College.

Actions that improve health as while also benefitting the local economy or reducing local government costs. More information via BC Centre for Disease Control.

Environmental health officers are responsible for protecting human and environmental health. They are involved in a variety of activities, including inspecting food facilities, investigating public health nuisances and implementing disease control. More information via ECO Canada.

When people’s race, gender, economic status or sexual orientation do not determine their economic social, or political opportunities. Equity means providing support and resources based on an individual's level of need, instead of providing every one with the same level of support. More information via the Spark Policy Institute.

How community planners develop and put in place policies and programs that provide services and supports that work for the levels of need in their community. 

Looking at a program or policy to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and outcomes of a program.

When all citizens can access safe, nutritious food that is appropriate for their culture.

The system of growing, preparing, distributing, eating and disposing of food.

When lower-income residents of a community are forced to move out as the housing that they live in is replaced by new, higher-priced developments; or as the value of the properties they live in becomes more than they can afford.

Making sure that every community member has access to the resources and supports they need to be healthy. More information via the National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health (pdf).

Looking at a policy or program to consider how it could impact the health of community members. More information via the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy.

Using a 'health lens' means providing evidence that allows people to consider the positive and negative consequences of their decisions during the decision-making process. A health lens can be applied to any issue or sector and to programs, projects or policies. This approach is at the heart of Health in All Policies. Ideally, one day a health lens will be used by all governments to help ensure that key decisions which impact health. 

A change in the health of an individual or community as a result of a policy or program.

Promoting policies, programs and other interventions to improve community health. More information via the World Health Organization.

Places that are designed to support good health for all. Examples of a healthy built environment include planning housing within walking distance of transit or creating public spaces where people can be active near their workplace. More information: https://planh.ca/take-action/healthy-environments/page/healthy-built-env.... More information via the BC Centre for Disease Control.

An approach that uses the World Health Organization's key strategies for improving health to enhance community health and well-being. There are five key strategies:

  • Community engagement;
  • Multi-sectoral collaboration;
  • Political commitment;
  • Healthy public policy; and
  • Asset-based community development

More information via BC Healthy Communities Society.

Housing that is safe, affordable, and good quality, supporting health and well-being. More information via the BC Centre for Disease Control (pdf).

Policies that improve health and make healthy choices easier for community members. Healthy public policy is a pillar of the Healthy Communities Approach. More information via the World Health Organization.

A way of looking at future housing needs in a community based on current supply and demand and using these to estimate future needs. More Information via BC Healthy Communities.

Actively including people who are usually excluded or at risk of being excluded. More information via the United Nations.

A number or ratio (a value on a scale of measurement) coming from a series of observed facts and can reveal relative changes over time. More information via the Gehl Institute (pdf).

A community that has:
• housing that its members can afford and that supports their needs
• community features and services that support community members' needs
• options for getting around the community which support the different levels of ability of community members
which together allow for personal independence and participation in community and social life.

More information via the American Association of Retired Persons.

Working with people or groups from different sectors to hear more viewpoints and to develop a shared vision. One of the five pillars of the Healthy Communities Approach.

An urban design movement that creates walkable neighborhoods containing a wide range of housing and job types in order to create an environmentally friendly community. More information via the American Planning Association.

Creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well-being. More information via Rethink Urban.

Providing leadership by considering health and well-being when making policy and planning decisions. One of the five pillars of the Healthy Communities Approach. More information via The Senate Sub-Committee on Population Health.

The prevention of health problems (e.g., disease, injury). More information via The Institute for Work & Health.

An approach which ensures that health promotion actions and supports are proportionate to the level of need, and are not targeted only towards those in greatest need. Those who need more services or support are given a level of support that matches their need, but so are those who need slightly less support. More information via NHS Health Scotland.

The organized efforts of society to keep people healthy and prevent injury, illness and premature death. Public Health uses programs, services and policies to protect and promote the health of all Canadians.

An area or place that is open and accessible to people of all genders, races, ethnicities, ages or social classes. These are public gathering spaces such as plazas, squares and parks. Connecting spaces, such as sidewalks and streets, are also public spaces. More information via UNESCO.

How a person sees their standing in life compared to the goals, expectations, standards, and concerns they face from themselves and society. It includes the person's physical health, their mental health, their beliefs, their social connections, and their environment. More information via the World Health Organization.

A feeling that members belong and matter to one another and to the group; they share a belief that their needs wil be met through their commitment to be together. More information via George Peabody College.

The degree to which everyone feels like they belong; socially connected communities use spaces and events to help people get to know their neighbours and feel motivated to get involved, and build relationships. More information via PlanH's Social Connectedness Action Guide (pdf).

How communities decide what their priorities are. Social planning should include all viewpoints and voices in a community, using those ideas to come to an equitable compromise. More information via Interior Health.

How much someone feels like they belong and are included and connected in society. More information via the University of Wollongong.

The ability to maintain something over the long term. A sustainable community is one that can afford to keep up the costs of running the community over the long term, can ensure that the environment is protected for future generations, and can make people feel like they are included in the community's social life. The best way to create a sustainable community is to develop plans and solutions that deal with all three of those parts—economic, environmental, and social—together. More information via the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

Temporary changes to a public area that make it more safe, enjoyable, liveable or easier to walk or bike in. Examples include parklets (seating or bike parking in a car parking space), temporary play areas, and temporary repair/air stations on bike paths. Because they aren't permanent, tactical urbanism installations can be a great way to test a new idea before spending money on making a more permanent change. More information via the Congress for New Urbanism.

Designing communities around transit access points, such as bus exchanges or train stations. Transit-oriented developments make it easier for people to live their everyday lives without using a car. More information via the Transit Oriented Development Institute.

An approach that looks at the root causes of whether people are healthy or not, such as racism, poverty, and access to healthy food, rather than looking at the choices an individual makes in their everyday life. More information via the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (pdf).

How towns and cities are designed to benefit the people living in them. Urban design includes the design of buildings, groups of buildings, outdoor spaces, transportation networks and the way these things work together. More information via the Urban Design Group. 

How easy it is to get around a place by walking. How walkable a place is can include considerations such as how safe someone feels walking, whether the road has been designed to make it easier to walk, how direct the pathway is to common destinations, how well maintained the path is, and how easy it is to use for people who have challenges with walking and need to use walkers or wheelchairs. More information via the Victoria Transport Institute.

Bylaws that regulate how a property can be used, including what you can build on it, where you can build on it, how big buildings can be and how they can be used, and any rules about how much parking there should be. More information via Government of BC.