Healthy Brabant

How can we add three healthy life years for all inhabitants of Brabant? That was the question De Gezonde Brabander (Healthy Brabander) - a steering group consisting of the Province of Noord-Brabant, its five largest cities and Municipal Health Services - asked us. Together with Het PON & Telos and TNO, we investigated how the living environment in the province could become healthier, resulting in more healthy inhabitants.

First of all, we made a spatial analysis showing how neighbourhoods in the cities score on various spatial variables that influence health. The amount of green space and the degree of air pollution are some of these variables. Next, we developed design principles that can be linked to the different neighbourhoods and the problems they face. These principles are based on three storylines that provide inspiration and direction:

  • Healthy densification around mobility nodes >> Stations and other nodes are easily accessible by bicycle or on foot. They are therefore an invitation to take more exercise. That already makes for fitter, healthier Brabanders. Moreover, the reduction in car traffic reduces air pollution, which also contributes to the health of the residents. The proximity of facilities such as schools, health care and shops also leads to more walking and cycling.  

  • Tackling division through neighbourhood transformation >> Particularly in districts with a low socio-economic status, medical problems of residents often go hand in hand with other problems, such as poverty or crime. If residents are given more control over the public space, it will also be used more. This will not only benefit the health of the residents, but will also increase safety and solidarity.

  • Health through strong green-blue networks >> Green-blue networks bring numerous health benefits to residents: air quality improves, the heat island effect diminishes, it encourages exercise and it has a positive impact on psychological wellbeing. Making these networks accessible and visible is an important condition.

Together with a concrete step-by-step plan - developed by TNO - these design principles offer handles for the Brabant municipalities to make the living environment healthier and to set up projects for this purpose. The project will also be part of the Day of Health, which the Province of Noord-Brabant is organising on 8 July.

Het PON & Telos