Healthy Planning in Pasadena, Texas

Location Pasadena Texas
Organization Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services

Located in the Houston metropolitan area, Pasadena is the second-largest city in Harris County, Texas, and is near two of the four largest refineries in the U.S. Pasadena's Code of Ordinances states that the director of planning should coordinate the development of a city plan that covers multiple years. The HIA provided recommendations to the director and the city as they developed the plan, which will ultimately guide land use, mobility, and other decisions that could affect health.

Researchers determined that developing multifamily housing on vacant lots could produce health benefits associated with greater population density, including more walking and other physical activity among residents and better air quality. However, the authors noted that living in multifamily housing can result in stress and other negative mental health outcomes, depending on the building's design and neighborhood satisfaction. Furthermore, developing the city's vacant lots would play a minimal role in alleviating concentrated poverty. The researchers recommended that the planning department partner with stakeholders to convert some vacant lots to green spaces, small parks, mixed-use developments, or commercial developments. Other recommendations included partnering with the Pasadena Police Department to develop a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design program for multifamily housing developments; prohibiting new multifamily housing developments near Superfund sites and other places with environmental hazards; and encouraging mixed-use development.

Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services collaborated with the Pasadena Planning Department and other key stakeholders, including Air Alliance Houston and community residents, to conduct the HIA. The HIA will also be included in a comparative analysis to examine the capacity for HIA across levels of local government in the region.


Because of municipal leadership changes that occurred after the HIA’s release, the final comprehensive plan has been delayed. However, Harris County staff noted that the relationship between Pasadena officials and the county health department is stronger after participating in the HIA process, as demonstrated by their collaboration on a Safe Routes to School plan. Pasadena also applied for and received a Houston-Galveston Area Council livable centers planning study grant

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Decision makers at all levels are using the fast-growing field of HIA to take health into account when making decisions in a broad range of sectors, including agriculture, education, energy and budgeting, in all types of locations--rural, suburban, and urban, local, regional or statewide. Learn more about the information sources that were used to develop this page.

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At A Glance
  • Status Complete
  • Completion Date 2016, November
  • Decision-Level Local
  • Sector Built Environment
  • Organization Type Government Agency