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Making Healthy Places – Designing and Building for Health, Well-being and Sustainability
Healthy Schools

GBCI: 0910000398

This self-paced reading activity examines how changes in the built environment can improve public and environmental health.
Eligible for 1.5 CE HOURS.
  • 1.5 CE

LEED version: v4, v2009

Published on: May 29, 2014

Average: 3.6 (5 votes)


This reading based online course offers reading excerpts from the book Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-being, and Sustainability. Drawing on the expertise of top leaders in public health and urban planning, the book presents a comprehensive examination of how changes in the design and planning of our communities can improve public and environmental health. The book’s contributors analyze a host of interconnected issues, including food and water supply and mental health, exploring the many links between design, human health, and environmental sustainability. For more information, or to purchase the full book, please visit

In this course, you will read the following excerpts from the book:

The “Preface” by Richard J. Jackson provides an overview of the ways in which a shift in the prevailing design of American communities—from transit-oriented urban centers to suburban sprawl— has led to an increase in a host of physical and mental health problems, from depression to obesity.

“An Introduction to Healthy Places” by Howard Frumkin, Arthur M. Wendel,
Robin Fran Abrams, and Emil Malizia offers foundational definitions and historic background on the relationship between the fields of public health and planning, architecture, and design. This chapter will provide participants a greater understanding of the environmental and public health benefits of collaboration across these disciplines.

Chapter 14, “Healthy Schools” by Howard Frumkin and Jared Fox offers a fresh and comprehensive guide to healthy, green schools—from site selection and building design to mitigating environmental hazards in the classroom. Participants who complete the course will understand the physical, chemical, and environmental factors that affect health in a school environment, and how these factors can be designed to promote better health for all users. The chapter also includes information on the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Healthy School Environmental Assessment Tool.

In addition to being of particular interest to professionals in public health and urban planning, this course will be essential for public health officials, planners, architects, landscape architects, school officials, administrators, and staff, and all those who would like to use design to improve public and environmental health.


  1. Identify the impacts that design at the community scale has on our physical, mental, social, and environmental well-being.
  2. Compare the ways in which different design professions (urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and transportation planning) and the field of public health developed.
  3. Analyze ways in which designers and public health practitioners can collaborate for improved health, well-being, and sustainability.
  4. Identify key factors that make schools unique built environments and assess the health benefits and threats presented by various school sites.
  5. Identify physical, chemical, and environmental factors inside and outside of the school building that impact health.
  6. Apply lessons learned in this course to healthy schools assessment tools, including a school environmental health audit.
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Created by

Island Press
Washington, DC
United States

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Education @USGBC courses are also available in the USGBC app for iOS or Android on your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
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Other sessions included in that series:


Making Healthy Places – Designing and Building for Health, Well-being and Sustainability
Strategies for Healthy Places


Making Healthy Places – Designing and Building for Health, Well-being and Sustainability
Healthy Homes and Workplaces


Making Healthy Places – Designing and Building for Health, Well-being and Sustainability
Healthy Schools

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Total 4 commentsLeave a comment

Project Manager, Collaborative Studio

Interesting topic

AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Partner, Fredette Architects, PLLC
Pro Reviewer

This course is comprised of self-paced reading of 51 pages from a 440-page book edited by three M.D.s in 2011. The Preface, Introduction and Chapter 14 - Healthy Schools are included. Informed by integrative, scientific and statistical approaches, this course provides an overview of considerations, tools and strategies that relate the designed qualities of the built environment (by transportation + urban planners, landscape architects + architects) to physical, mental, social, environmental and economic vitality.
The statistics provided in these chapters are fascinating. I appreciate the academic excellence in the research, the writing, and the quiz, which thoughtfully highlights key concepts. As is typical in scholarly publications, the excerpts kindly provide detailed lists of References, which guide those Readers-who-want-to-know-more to additional resources and knowledge on an extensive range of relevant, interdisciplinary topics.

Sr. Healthcare Designer, Gresham Smith and Partners

Although the authors choose to focus primarily on the environmental and social aspects of Sustainability, without much weight on the economic aspects, the book review still provides a good overview of how urban planning, zoning, and the built environment can provide healthy places to live and work. The readers of the paper will get a good, comprehensive overview and basic understanding of sustainability, the various types of design professionals, design factors leading to poor health, and how the built environment can affect human health. The paper also provides a good historical background to environmental design and shows how evidence based design and studies are being used to provide data for designers as we move forward. Although the section on schools provides a good overview of the sustainable design issues, I wish the section of Healthy schools was more comprehensive given the number and diversity of sustainable schools.

Environmental Engineer, LEED AP, USGBC Faculty, Jain Engineering Consultants Intl.
Pro Reviewer

This course has an interesting topic about how planners and designers of communities can improve human health. This course is most suitable for urban planners, Architects, civil engineers, landscape designers.
The course provides a proper reading selection that directly relates to the topic and gives a basic understanding of the relation of designing community with regards to public health. However this information is relatively basic for those who want a more in depth understanding of this topic. The reading selection also provides useful information extracted from actual studies made showing the impact of community design on health.
It would more useful if the course was presented in slides or video format.

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