January 21, 2022

Healthy Homes & Communities: What matters when it comes to wellbeing?

The COVID-19 pandemic and related public health measures have drawn our attention to how important our homes, neighbourhoods, and communities are to our health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life. Our environments shape where we live, work, play, and how we interact. Opportunities in these different settings create and strengthen community vitality, resiliency, and wellbeing. These are critical considerations for Albertans as we continue to navigate through the pandemic and social recovery. With so many factors influencing our wellbeing, it’s difficult to know what information to attend to most when it comes to our homes and communities.

The University of Alberta’s Centre for Healthy Communities (CHC), in partnership with the Alberta Real Estate Foundation, launched a user-friendly website: www.healthycommunitiesathome.ca to help support healthy homes and healthy communities for Albertans. The website combines scientific and practice-based evidence. It was developed with input by and made for diverse stakeholders across Alberta. These stakeholders include real estate professionals, urban and rural planners, land developers, consumers, researchers, municipal representatives, community and social organizations, and public health and health services representatives.

The global climate crisis, economic instability, and the myriad of health and other impacts brought about by COVID-19 underscore the need for innovative and proactive strategies to create supportive communities that protect and bolster wellbeing. When we think about creating healthy homes and communities, we need to consider how we can incorporate efforts to protect the environment and build an economically sustainable future. In a time of dramatic local and global change, there is an opportunity to re-envision how we shape our communities and revive our economy to optimize our collective health and wellbeing.

The website highlights nine common factors that support healthy homes and healthy communities. The nine key factor pages summarize key points and terms, highlight sample criteria and recommendations, and connect to existing supports and programs. Each of these nine factors is aligned with three key societal areas of concern: environmental stewardship, economic recovery, and COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

Within its current scope, the website is meant to support stakeholders in developing a common language and knowledge about key factors that support healthy communities and homes in Alberta. With future additional resources and funding, the CHC aims to continue to build website content, adding new information as it becomes available, examples to support and inspire, resources for communities, and interactive media like podcasts, videos, and learning modules.

To learn more about the project, visit the website at www.healthycommunitiesathome.ca or contact the CHC at healthy.communities@ualberta.ca.

This project was funded in 2020 through the Foundation’s Grant Program.

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