The 2017 Shaw Forum brought together staff and members from eight membership organizations (the American Institute of Architects, American Planning Association, American Public Health Association, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Landscape Architects, National Recreation and Park Association, Urban Land Institute, and U.S. Green Building Council) to discuss establishing effective partnerships to improve health through the built environment.
These eight organizations, in an effort to increase partnerships between built environment practitioners, released a Joint Call to Action to Promote Healthy Communities in April 2017. The Joint Call to Action identifies the members of these eight partner organizations as critical conduits to improve public health outcomes through the design of the built environment, and makes the call to these members to build relationships, establish health goals for their projects and plans, implement strategies to improve health, and communicate the importance of health.
As a next step to the Joint Call to Action, staff from the eight partner organizations, along with member leaders, came together to define ways for the signatory organizations—along with their members, including planners, designers, developers, engineers, public health professionals, as well as other stewards of the built environment—to consistently, meaningfully, and systematically work together.
The ULI/Charles H. Shaw Forum on Urban Community Issues—an annual forum endowed by former ULI chairman Charles (“Charlie”) H. Shaw that brings together approximately 25 experts and leading practitioners of urban development and public leadership to address the challenges and opportunities of urban neighborhoods—provided the opportunity to begin defining parameters for partnership at both the organization and individual member level.
Over the course of a day, forum attendees participated in small and large group discussions to talk through a series of questions:
- What are the key health initiatives/programs/projects of each Joint Call to Action signatory organization which represent opportunities for cross-organizational collaboration?
- How can the Joint Call to Action signatory organizations encourage collaboration at the local level between members of differing professions?
- Do members of the signatory organizations/various disciplines share a common language or understanding around health?
- What other organizations or groups should be included in the Joint Call to Action work?
- What are specific strategies or projects the signatory organizations could jointly pursue or implement? How can the Call to Action organizations empower members and/or local staff? What specific actions should members be encouraged to take?
The group prioritized a set of six month, 1 year, and 1 to 5 year actions to move the Joint Call to Action forward. The staff group from the eight signatory organizations will meet quarterly to refine the actions and create a multi-year plan for implementation.