Food should be considered in city planning

Sydney 26 March 2013. Agricultural land around Australian cities should be protected to provide fresh, nutritious, culturally appropriate and affordable food, the National Heart Foundation of Australia has told a national conference of planning professionals today.

The presentation was made at the 2013 Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) National Congress held in Canberra 24-27 March attended by planners, urban designers, architects, lawyers and health experts.

Dr Robert Grenfell, National Cardiovascular Health Director at the Heart Foundation wants state governments to consider food production as part of their metropolitan planning strategies in order to provide better access to healthy food and to reduce access to unhealthy food that is widely available.

“For Australians to have good access to healthy food into the future we need to ensure valuable agricultural land is protected,” Dr Grenfell said.

“The design and layout of our urban environment has a major effect on whether people have physical and financial access to food.

“Cities should also plan for more dense populations, including in growing communities, to make local shops with healthy food, retail and foodservice and public transport infrastructure viable.

“This means reducing the footprint of residential areas to make less impact on semi-urban agricultural areas.”

The Heart Foundation also said state governments should give local councils the power to make healthy foods more available in their local communities and unhealthy foods less available, for example by controlling the number of fast food takeaways close to schools.

“Planning decisions also affect where shops are located and how people get to these food outlets via public transport, car or other means such as bikes or walking,” he said.

“Ensuring people have the ability to eat well and exercise by walking, riding or catching public transport is one way to proactively deal with the levels of overweight and obesity and chronic diseases.

“Designing our neighbourhoods so that healthy food is physically and financially easier to get means more Australians can eat healthier, and reduce their risks of developing heart disease.

“Good health depends on good food and fresh fruit and vegetables are a key part of maintaining good health, with low consumption of fruit and vegetables putting people at a much higher risk for cardiovascular disease.”

 

http://www.international.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7927:food-should-be-considered-in-city-planning-&catid=36:news&Itemid=254

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