Opinion: Big Tobacco and big lies
Australia has the tobacco plain packaging legislation due to the wonderful work by the former health minister, Nicola Roxon.
This landmark piece of legislation, hailed internationally, fitted well with her belief that “governments have got a role to make sure they can help people in circumstances they can’t control – either through their health failing or an accident”.
Continue reading Big Tobacco
Opinion: Health Costs – the reality
The Australian Government is currently not doing much, except to hand power to its business friends.
We expect all manner of stupid decisions to follow soon. That is, once the business groups have worked out what they want this Rabbott Government to do. Hence all the reviews underway, which are being overseen by the business and lobby groups who brought this government to power.
Continue reading Health Costs
Re-posted from The Dirt
Rina Cutler: Urban Transportation Change Maker
When I retire I will write a book called, ‘you can’t make this sh*t up,” said Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and utilities, Philadelphia, at a National Complete Streets Coalition dinner in Washington, D.C. In a review of her experience serving seven mayors and governors, Cutler revealed the sometimes painful truths about pushing for positive change in urban transportation.
Continue reading Urban Transportation Change Maker
Play, Recreation and Children
While sustainable settlements debates more often than not focus on such key issues as climate change, carbon, energy, green infrastructure, weather etc, emphasis must also remain on the rights of children to have access to play.
It is overdue that planning and development legislation to be inclusive of the ‘need to create time and space for children to engage in spontaneous play, recreation and creativity, and to promote societal attitudes that support and encourage such activity’ (1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child article 31).
The problem has been that play has been a separated issue for planning. At worst it is a token of optional matter to be addressed. The contemporary view is that whether the planning is for a street, a park, a suburb or any form of redevelopment of urban areas, play and the rights for children to have access to safe and engaging recreation must be as important as the rest of the requirements. This is rarely the case.
Continue reading Play
Reporting on research being undertaken
Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health
You are urged to ‘watch this space’ for research and reports by scientists who have been carrying out research on Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health. To quote from their website:
Safeguarding future health in Australian cities, The CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship has funded scientists and researchers from a range of disciplines to develop adaptation strategies which will improve the health of urban populations in the face of a variable and changing climate.
The Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health Cluster was established in 2010 and officially launched in March 2011 at a Conference in Cairns, bringing together nine different partner organisations focusing on 7 major research projects.
Continue reading Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health
Opinion Editorial: Urban Trees and Heat
A case study of neglect and willful blindness?.
(cross posted from our other blog)
Continue reading Urban Trees and Heat
re-post from David Gillespie’s site
The World Health Organisation has taken a tough stand on sugar.
It’s about time we listened.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has leaked a draft report about sugar. The report will tell the world’s health authorities that they should be severely limiting the amount of sugar we all eat.
It will recommend that we consume no more than 5 teaspoons of sugar a day. Given the average Australian is putting away somewhere closer to 35-45 teaspoons a day, it’s a very big call indeed.
Continue reading Sugar
Opinion Editorial: Cities and Heat
Melbourne city centre a death trap as heat-island effect takes its toll
It is about the urban heat island effect
Continue reading Cities and Heat
Green Spaces and the Health Budgets
re-posted from the BBC
In Australia planning authorities and government administrative services sections still do not address the proven links between health and the access to open spaces. One has to only look to the small budgets for parks initiatives and worse still to the shrinking allocations for park maintenance within local governments.
Meanwhile all our governments are under stress because of the increasing requirements being identified under their health portfolios.
Continue reading Green Spaces and the Health Budgets
re-posted from BBC, science and environment
It’s about the links between Health Wellbeing and Parks
Green spaces, Parks, have lasting positive effect on health and wellbeing
Living in an urban area with green spaces such as parks has a long-lasting positive impact on people’s mental well-being, a study has suggested. UK researchers found moving to a green space had a sustained positive effect, unlike pay rises or promotions, which only provided a short-term boost.
The authors said the results indicated that access to good quality urban parks was beneficial to public health. The findings appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Continue reading Health Wellbeing and Parks
What’s cranking up the heat across south-eastern Australia?
re-posted from The Conversation, Tess Parker, 13 January 2013
In the midst of a January heatwave in South East Australia, with temperature outside being around 40 degrees Celsius for several days, it is refreshing to see the science being discussed as to what happens and why. As usual there will be the trolls who try to distract the facts being put forward. I for one thank the researchers who continue to seek evidence based answers to the many queries around weather and the links to climate change. Here’s the link to the piece by Tess Parker, on The Conversation
The Nature of Cities
Education in ecology and biodiversity
If cities look to stay within their boarders, there is the need to seek acceptable ways to intensify the number of residents within the older suburbs. This requires an intelligent engagement with the present residents of suburban areas on a case by case basis.
Given the need to address climate change within the suburbs as they are being redeveloped and upgraded throws up a host of requirements that should have by now have been built into legislation. Sadly this is not so as most of the re-development and intensification as been left to laissez-faire market forces.
Continue reading Education in ecology and biodiversity
re-post from the Guardian
Cities and Urban Wildlife
Take any city and ask, has the government in place a long-term strategy to enhance the biodiversity through maintaining and increasing its green infrastructure? This requires not just consideration of the public realm but also ways to encourage citizens that this needs to happen in the backyard of every home.
In the past governments have often established arboretums to undertake research on trees and shrubs. It is now far more realistic to continue the aims of arboretums not by having these specialist sites, instead the approach needs to be to increase the range of trees and shrubs within the urban areas themselves.
Continue reading Cities and urban wildlife
Re-Post from The Guardian
Health and wellbeing: the top five stories of 2013
The Guardian has posted 2013’s top five stories focused on happiness, food and a few myth busters about behaviour change. It is about Health and Wellbeing.
Continue reading Health and wellbeing
Re-Posted from UK Landscape Institute
Public health and landscape: creating healthy places (November 2013)
The UK Landscape Institute believes that greater priority needs to be given to prevention of ill health in public health and social care. All those involved in creating healthy places, public health professionals, planners and landscape architects, need to recognise that landscape has enormous potential to improve our health and wellbeing. In Australia, despite all the evidence being available, it has been a struggle to have the Australian Government recognise the importance of the links between our public spaces and the population’s health and well being.
Click here for UK Landscape Institute Public Health Policy links