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Why we made this tool

Working with communities around the country to create community plans that put health front and center, we’ve heard requests for a tool that can be used to assess a variety of built environment plans and policy documents, and provide straight-forward guidance and recommendations.

For example, in Buffalo, NY, a coalition of community stakeholders wanted to make sure their city’s new land use plan would promote access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity. A draft plan had been released, but they weren’t sure what to compare it to or what specific policies to look for.

Similarly, in Tuolumne County, CA, planners wanted to address tobacco use in an update to their countywide plan, but they weren’t sure what kinds of policies they should be adding.

We built the HCPAT for opportunities just like these. This tool makes it easier to systematically assess plans, and to identify recommendations to enhance and strengthen them, based on a community’s health goals.

In times of stretched-thin resources, communities need simple tools. The evaluation allows communities to use one tool to assess comprehensive plans in four key domains: Complete Streets, Complete Neighborhoods, Environmental Health, and Healthy Food Systems. The tool gives communities the flexibility to target their assessment to specific questions, or assess their plan across all domains.

About Changelab Solutions

ChangeLab Solutions provides community-based solutions for America’s most common and preventable diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and asthma. Our solutions promote the common good by making healthier choices easier for everyone.


ChangeLab Solutions would like to thank the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for funding the development of the Healthy Places Assessment Tool and the San Francisco Foundation for supporting early research and design.

The project was supported through a CDC Cooperative Agreement (CoAg) mechanism (U38OT000141).