The places in which we live, work, and play affect our health. Neighbourhoods that have options for active transportation like walking and cycling, opportunities for physical activity like recreation centres, green spaces to be active and socialize in, and places to access healthy and nutritious food, tend to have greater opportunities for good health.
But not every neighbourhood in Toronto incorporates these health-promoting features. Neighbourhoods that are better off tend to have more opportunities for good health than poorer neighbourhoods. Lower income neighbourhoods are more likely to lack opportunities for physical activity and have fewer green spaces and places to buy good food than neighbourhoods that are better off. As a result, people living in lower income neighbourhoods have fewer opportunities for good health.
The built environment has significant impacts on our health and the health of Toronto’s communities.
Fostering community leadership is one critical tool in enabling communities to identify and lead projects in their own neighbourhoods that improve the built environment and residents’ health. Having dedicated staff to support community leadership has proved to be successful in Toronto, and Council should ensure that this model is supported in the long-term.