Healthy Community Planning Project

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Comprehensive plans (comp plans) are an important tool used by local governments to create a shared vision, community goals, and action steps to promote community wellbeing and conditions that shape public health. By focusing on a range of community components, such as land use, transportation, climate resilience, physical activity and healthy food access, comp plans can help create a road map for community development and growth to support health goals.

The Twin Cities Metro Area Healthy Community Planning Project (Project) reviewed a sample of Twin Cities metropolitan region 2040 comprehensive plans to assess how the plans address 11 public health indicators that are important for promoting healthy communities. This review included urban, suburban, and rural communities.

The Project was a collaborative effort between the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Climate and Health Program and Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council, and the Public Health Law Center (PHLC).

This webpage provides Project findings for each of the health indicators studied in the Project, in addition to an overview of the Project overview.

This project is supported by the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, Minnesota Department of Health
All photos used on this page are courtesy of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council

Banner with Logos from Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, Minnesota Department of Health, Metropolitan Council and Public Health Law Center


Project Overview

We recommend that you review the Project Overview materials first, as this introduces the Project and provides context for the following indicator webinars.



Indicator-specific information summarizing Project findings are available, below:
Affordable Housing Intense Rain Events and Flooding
Climate Change for At-Risk Populations Mixed Use
Extreme Heat Events Multimodal Transportation
Food Access Public Recreational Opportunities
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Transit-Oriented Development
Greenspace Preservation/Enhancement  



Affordable Housing Complex

Indicator: Affordable Housing

The Affordable Housing indicator focuses on how municipalities plan for both for market-rate and low-and moderate housing developments through the local land-use approvals process, inclusionary housing policies, or incentives to encourage a range of affordable housing options.

 Slide Deck | Webinar

Two buys biking

Indicator: Climate Change for At-Risk Populations

The Climate Change for At-Risk Populations indicator focuses on climate equity and climate justice. These concepts provide a framework for addressing inequities in how different communities and populations are impacted by climate change and targeting interventions to address and improve these inequities.

Slide Deck | Webinar

Kids at a Waterpark

Indicator: Extreme Heat Events

The Extreme Heat Events indicator considers how different communities plan to address extreme heat events in their comp plans. For this Project, an extreme heat event involves a series of unusually hot days outside of the historic norms. Extreme heat is often connected to the urban heat island effect.

Slide Deck | Webinar

Hmong Farmer at Market

Indicator: Food Access

The Food Access indicator focuses on plans that promote local food production and healthy food retail. Areas impacting food access in local communities can include urban agriculture, community gardens, hunger relief initiatives, farmers’ markets and other healthy food retail, and small-scale local food production.

Memo | Slide Deck | Webinar

Girl and Bee Balm

Indicator: Greenhouse Gas Reduction

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction indicator focuses on how municipalities articulate targets or strategies for community-wide greenhouse gas reductions in their plans.

Slide Deck | Webinar


Indicator: Greenspace Preservation/Enhancement

The Greenspace Preservation/Enhancement indicator focuses on how municipalities are planning to protect environmental features such as wetlands and water bodies, reduce runoff which can lead to flooding, reduce the urban heat island effect, and promote opportunities for residents to connect to nature.

Slide Deck | Webinar

Intense Rain Events and Flooding

Indicator: Intense Rain Events and Flooding

The Intense Rain Events and Flooding indicator focuses on how municipalities plan to increase the resilience of the natural and built environment infrastructure for more intense rain events and associated flooding.

Slide Deck | Webinar


Indicator: Mixed Use

The Mixed Use indicator focuses on how municipalities approach development and integrate residential land uses with commercial uses. When properly implemented, mixed-use development can produce a greater number of housing options and types, increase affordability, create more efficient uses of land and infrastructure, and help meet population thresholds for transit and supportive services that improve walkability and active living.

Slide Deck | Webinar


Indicator: Multimodal Transportation

The Multimodal Transportation indicator focuses on systems and policies that accommodate various modes of travel (walking, bicycling, transit, automobile) and connections among different modes.

Memo | Slide Deck | Webinar

Women Kayaking

Indicator: Public Recreational Opportunities

The Public Recreational Opportunities indicator focuses on access to public recreational opportunities in local communities. This can include walkable and bikeable access to parks, greenspace, and trails, as well as expanding recreation opportunities, culturally appropriate programming, and including parks and trails in transportation networks.

Slide Deck | Webinar

People on Metro Platform

Indicator: Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)

The Transit-Oriented Development indicator focuses on mixed-use development that is designed around public transportation. TOD includes transit infrastructure, compact housing, and commercial development.

Slide Deck | Webinar