Unit 2: Natural and Built Environments

The second unit, Natural and Built Environments, provides students with instruction on important dimensions of the natural environment and the human impact on these systems through application of tools from planning to shape the built environment and from public health to address health.  A highlight of this unit is a service learning group project where students apply lessons from environmental planning, transportation planning and environmental health to a local issue. Six weeks are devoted to teaching this unit.

LEARNING GOAL Application. Identify contemporary features of the built environment such as patterns of development, parks, public works projects, houses, and transportation systems that reflect past efforts to influence health, and use methods developed by architects, urban planners, public health professionals, sociologists and anthropologists to address current health impacts of the built environment.


  • Land Use and Transportation
  • Planning Design Approaches
  • Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Health Impact Assessments
  • Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality
  • Water Quality
  • Food Security

Suggested Readings Books (select chapters)

  • Frumkin H, Frank L, Jackson R. Urban sprawl and public health: designing, planning, and building for healthy communities. Washington DC: Island Press, 2004.
  • Kawachi I, Berkman LF. Neighborhoods and health. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Morris M, Duncan R, Hannaford K, et al. Integrating planning and public health. Chicago: APA Planning Advisory Service, 2006.

Online Resource


In and Out of Class Assignments

  • Service-learning group project
  • Activity diary
  • Transit use
Map of Georgia Tech

Georgia Institute of Technology
School of City and Regional Planning
245 4th St
Atlanta, GA 30332

The Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse was supported by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's Office of the National Prevention Strategy and Healthy Community Design Program and made possible through additional support from the American Public Health Association, the National Network of Public Health Institutes, and the American Planning Association's Planning and Community Health Research Center. Interested in adding to and supporting the Clearinghouse? Contact the Clearinghouse at bephc@gatech.edu.