Humboldt County General Plan Update


Humboldt County General Plan Update
Location Humboldt County California
Organization County of Humboldt Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Branch, Human Impact Partners, Humboldt Partnership for Active Living, and the California Endowment

The HIA addressed an update of the Humboldt County General Plan. Three growth alternatives to accommodate future population were being considered in the General Plan Update (GPU): 1) denser development in urban areas; 2) some growth to exurban areas; and 3) unrestricted growth throughout the county. Pathways and health issues explored included comments on six sections of the GPU: housing, transportation, public infrastructure, public safety and social cohesion, healthy economy and environmental stewardship. Within these six domains, baseline conditions and predicted impacts on 35 indicators of healthy development were assessed. Focus groups of 50+ community organizations and members were conducted. The HIA recommended, generally, adopting the growth plan that concentrated population growth in more urban areas. There were many specific recommendations in each chapter, including increasing public transportation options and outreach, adopting a countywide inclusionary zoning ordinance for affordable housing and preserving timber lands.

This was the first rural HIA and the first HIA conducted on a general plan update in the United States.

Impacts from the HIA have been positive. The County of Humboldt Department of Health and Human Services' Public Health Branch and community groups communicated the results of the HIA widely, through meetings with the county board of supervisors and over 50 community meetings and conferences. Both the draft Housing and Circulation elements adopted many of the HIA's recommendations and the HIA was included as an appendix to the GPU. Collaboration between the PHB and the county planning department was positive and other collaborative efforts have taken place. Community engagement and education about the links have been widespread. The final decision about which alternative the GPU will adopt is still pending.

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The Health Impact Project’s toolkit contains resources that help communities, agencies, and other organizations take action to improve public health. The toolkit offers a collection of health impact assessments, guides, and other research to support policymakers’ efforts to consider health when making decisions across sectors, such as housing, planning, and education.

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At A Glance
  • Status:
  • Publication date:
    2008, March
  • Decision-making levels:
  • Sectors:
    Planning and zoning
  • Additional topic areas:
    Active transportation, Economic development, Land-use planning, Public transit
  • Drivers of health:
    Access to healthy food, Access to services/medical care, Community safety, Diet and physical activity, Safe, affordable, and healthy housing, Safe and affordable public transit
  • Affected populations:
    Economically disadvantaged
  • Community types:
    Urban, Rural
  • Research methods:
    Focus groups, Primary research, Qualitative research
  • Funding source:
    Other funding