PHS 562/PLAN 508D

Built Environment and Community Health

School of Architecture, Department of Urban and Environmental Planning
School of Medicine, Department of Public Health Policy

Assistant Professor Nisha Botchwey, Campbell Hall Room 319,

Course Coordinator Schaeffer Somers, DPHS Room 3181,

Spring 2009 Course Topics

Course Description

PLAN 508D/PHS 562, the Built Environment and Community Health Seminar is a 1-credit elective interdisciplinary Public Health and Planning Health course that explores the connections between the built environment and community health.  The course teaches students about four main areas at the intersection of the built environment and community health:

  1. planning and public health foundations
  2. natural and built environment
  3. vulnerable populations and health disparities
  4. health policy and global impacts

UVA Faculty with expertise in public health, medicine, urban planning, architecture, engineering, education and economics will lead sessions within these four overarching units in partnership with leaders from the local Charlottesville community.  Each class will begin with a 15 minute introduction by faculty on a specific session topic followed by a 15 minute comment by the community organization leader.  Community representatives will discuss the organization’s mission, its relationship to the built environment (all things man made and influenced where people work, live and play), how their work improves the public’s health, and how the built environment dimensions of their work and health promotion were connected or how they would like to enhance their connection.  Students will then engage in a 20 minute discussion with the faculty and the community leader.

At the end of the semester, student teams are required to complete an evaluation of how a particular community organization’s work addresses or engages the built environment and public health, and how it might improve its effectiveness at this important intersection.


Course Readings


Frumkin, Howard, Frank, Lawrence and Richard Jackson. 2004. Urban Sprawl and Health: Designing, Planning, and Building for Healthy Communities. Washington: Island Press.

Supplemental Reading

Article:  Younger, Margalit, Heather Morrow-Almeida, Stephen Vindigni, and Andrew Dannenberg.  “The Built Environment, Climate Change, and Health:  Opportunities for Co-Benefits,”  American Journal of Preventive Medicine 35, 5 (2008): 517-525.

Article:  Freudenberg N, Ruglis J, “Reframing school dropout as a public health issue,” Prev Chronic Dis 2007;4(4).

Article:  Richardson JW, “Building bridges between school-based health clinics and schools,” J Sch Health. 2007; 77: 337-343.

Article:  Jetter, Karen and Kiane Cassady, “The availability and cost of healthier food alternatives,” American Journal of Preventative Medicine 30(1) (2006): 38-44.

Article:  Glanz, Karen and Amy Yaroch, “Strategies for increasing fruit and vegetable intake in grocery stores and communities: policy, pricing, and environmental change”, Preventative Medicine 39 (2004): 575-580.

Article:  Guerrant, Richard L, Reinaldo Reinaldo B Oriá, Sean R Moore, Mônica OB Oriá, and Aldo AM Lima, “Malnutrition as an enteric infectious disease with long-term effects on child development”, Nutrition Reviews 66, 9 (2008): 487-505.

Article:  Guerrant, Richard L, Margaret Kosek, Aldo AM Lima, Breyette Lorntz, and Helen L Guyatt, “Updating the DALYs for diarrhoeal disease”, Trends in Parasitology 18, 5 (2002):  191-193.