Positive Places

About the Project

Public open space (POS), including parks, provide a number of physical, psychological and social health benefits for individuals and the community. POS provides destinations or people to walk and cycle to, be active in, and for children to participate in physical and social play. They also provide places for social interaction helping to create and maintain community cohesion and social capital and provide exposure to nature which offers positive mental health benefits.

The aim of POS Tool is to provide a web-based, interactive tool providing the opportunity to visualise and analyse the spatial distribution of POS and POS amenity (such as lighting, water features, nature, provision for dogs, sporting facilities) to support urban planning practice and land allocation of POS in the Perth Metropolitan and Peel Regions. Users can search and analyse the POS data base using an address, a park name, and by suburb or local government authority (LGA). Advanced features allow users to interrogate POS data based on user defined areas and model the impact of population growth on access to POS. Additionally, POS Tool can support research across a wide range of areas including health related research that aims to understand the direct and indirect health benefits provided by POS.

The development of the POS Tool is an extension of an ongoing program of research being carried out by the Centre for the Built Environment and Health at the University of Western Australia aimed at understanding the impact of the built environment on mental, physical and social health outcomes. For further information on our current and past research and outputs please visit: http://www.sph.uwa.edu.au/research/cbeh

About Us

The Centre for the Built Environment and Health (CBEH) was established in 2007 and is based at The University of Western Australia. The Centre undertakes research to support and influence planning and urban design policy and practice to help create healthy and sustainable communities. CBEH has a strong emphasis on applied research and answering questions that can help improve urban planning and the built environment. We recognise that many of the underlying causes of poor health are derived from the social, environmental, economic and cultural factors that are embedded in the lives in which people live, work and play and our award-winning research focuses on understanding how to build and promote healthy and sustainable communities for people of all ages. Our research program is funded by state and national research funding and undertaken in partnership with government, non-government and private sector support. We pride ourselves on efforts to translate and disseminate the findings of our research to many different audiences.

Our mission is to undertake policy relevant research that builds capacity and influences planning and urban design policy and practice to create healthy and sustainable communities. Areas of current interest include:

  • The health benefits of good community design;
  • What makes a walkable community;
  • Evaluation of state urban design and community development guidelines;
  • The social sustainability of communities including social capital and sense of community;
  • Meeting the needs of children and an ageing population through good design;
  • Prevention of overweight and obesity;
  • Promotion of physical activity; and
  • Active Transport and land use policy.

The Centre comprises a multi-disciplinary team of researchers with expertise in public health and chronic disease, behavioural science, geographical information systems (GIS), mental health, biostatistics, qualitative and quantitative research methods, social determinants of health, urban design, transportation planning, ageing, child health, health economics and social ecology. Our work is enhanced by collaborative relationships with a wide range of sectors and professions including planners, architects, geographers, urban designers, psychologists, economists, local government, and sport, recreation and community groups. For further information on our work, please visit: http://www.sph.uwa.edu.au/research/cbeh