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The Built Environment: Influences and Challenges to Improving Population Health

3rd term
Online Programs for Applied Learning
3 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Asynchronous Online
Auditors Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Katherine Moon

The built environment, how we design and build communities where we live, work, and play, has a fundamental effect on our health and physical, mental, social, environmental, and economic well-being. The built environment is a vast, evolving area of interdisciplinary research.

Focuses on describing the relations between the urban and suburban built environments in the U.S., with emphasis on land use and transportation infrastructure, access to healthy food, access to green space and recreational opportunities, and exposures to air pollution and noise that accompany these community designs all of which have been shown to have an impact on community health. Explores the use of Health Impact Assessments for assessing the programs and policies that do not traditionally evaluate public health outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define the built environment and evaluate common metrics used to assess it
  2. Explain how the built environment can affect public health, both positively and negatively
  3. Apply the results of a Health Impact Assessment to evaluate and recommend interventions that aim to improve health by modifying the built environment
  4. Explain how climate change and globalization can affect public health through the built environment
  5. Explain how land use and transportation policies can affect human, animal, and ecosystem health (One Health)
  6. Develop a framework for how to create sustainable communities that protect vulnerable populations and improve population health
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 10% Participation
  • 30% Reflection
  • 30% Midterm
  • 30% Final Exam

Instructor Consent:

No consent required