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Thriving Neighbourhoods Conference 2011. Stuart Ord Director Healthy Parks Healthy People, Parks Victoria. It’s a simple message. Healthy Parks: environmental benefits achieved through conserving, protecting and enhancing biodiversity and cultural values

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stuart ord director healthy parks healthy people parks victoria

Thriving Neighbourhoods Conference 2011

Stuart Ord

Director Healthy Parks Healthy People,

Parks Victoria

it s a simple message
It’s a simple message

Healthy Parks: environmental benefits achieved through conserving, protecting and enhancing biodiversity and cultural values

Healthy People: health, well being and other societal benefits associated with the range of experiences and opportunitiesavailable


There is an integral link between

nature and human health.

The health of our parks is directly related

to the health of our communities.


Evidence linking health and the natural environment

  • The evidence shows that the natural environment has three main affects on humans:
    • Increases Physical activity
    • Reduces Chronic Stress
    • Strengthens Communities

Studies have shown an increase in greenery directly relates to a decrease in obesity

current health issues obesity
Current health issues:Obesity
  • Almost half (48.6%) of Victorian adults are overweight or obese
  • By 2025, 83% of Victorian men and 75% of women will be overweight or obese.
a connection understood
A connection understood…
  • ‘a national domain for rest and recreation…’a sanctuary for pale faced Sydneyites feeling the physical, mental and social pollution of the densely packed city’
  • Royal National Park, 1879

“Abundant evidence is available to substantiate the views of city planners, the medical profession, and psychologiststhat proper outdoor recreation has a most beneficial effect on the health, morals, and business efficiency of communities…

The problem presented to the commission was not whether recreational facilities were necessary, but what area of open spaces would be required to serve the population….”

Plan of General Development

Melbourne 1929

societal economic environmental context for thriving neighbourhoods
Societal, Economic & Environmental Context For Thriving Neighbourhoods
  • Living in one of the most urbanised societies in the world- densification
  • Obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mental health issues (anxiety & depression) all rising
  • Ageing population and 50+ are more active
  • Declining social & community connectedness
  • Financial Crisis
  • Climate change! water, biodiversity decline - loss of species, sea level rise, severe weather patterns, heat island effect
promoting wellbeing more liveable cities
Promoting Wellbeing & More Liveable cities



Relevant & Contemporary, Parks & Bays settings & infrastructure

Access and Linkages







EnablingPrograms and Services that promote meaningful experiences


Local Government


Health - Preventative

Health - Rehabilitation




Healthier, happier individuals & communitiesconnected with the great outdoors


Recognising the barriers

Ed’s Great Grandfather, George


Health in Western Region of Melbourne

The prevalence of diabetes in the west is up to one in seven compared with the Victorian average of one in thirty.

The Type 2 Diabetes hotspots in the City of Brimbank are reported as:Ardeer 13.5% Deer Park 6.30%

Sunshine 11.1% Kealba 4.80%

Keilor Park 5.72%

“90% to 95% of cases of type 2 diabetes are associated with obesity and physical inactivity”.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2002


Healthier communities with reduced risk of:

- Obesity

- Depression

- Diabetes

- Cardio Vascular Disease

- Social Isolation

why is prevention important
Why is prevention important?
  • It costs less to prevent illness than to treat it
  • Australia spent $86.9 billion on health in 2005-06, up $5.8 billion from 2004-05 (AIHW)
  • Currently we have an illness management system, not a health promoting system
long term goal
Long-term goal
  • A healthy community and a healthy parks system
    • People visit and value
      • Behaviour and attitudinal change
      • Mainstreaming of open space related activities
    • Sustainable open space system
      • Open space inclusion as a priority in all planning
    • Community resilience

HPHP seeks to

  • Re-connect people with nature
  • Re-enforce the connection between a healthy environment and a healthy society
  • Broaden community appreciation of the diverse values of parks
hphp building new alliances
HPHP- Building new alliances

Endorsement & support from the Health Industry

Expert advisor & champion

Posters and brochures to GPs’ surgeries state-wide

Establish innovative demonstration projects

healthy parks healthy people active in parks geelong
Healthy Parks Healthy People‘Active in Parks’ Geelong

a physical activity program being trialled in Geelong region in Spring 2011

hphp building new advocates
HPHP- Building new advocates
  • Engaging with multi-cultural communities
  • Building partnerships with cultural organisations
  • Bilingual volunteer guides program
  • “Park discovery tours” (in partnership with local government)
  • Overnight camps and day tours for new migrants
  • PV staff awareness
  • “… these trips give our new migrants real connection to the Australian Landscape….”
retrofitting urban parks
Retrofitting Urban parks
  • Re-vitalising our existing urban parks
  • Planning for new parks and open space in Melbourne
  • “New” uses of parks ( e.g. community gardens, dog parks)
  • Hands-on community involvement
Consider ….

the long term well-being benefits of contact with parks and open space and the ecosystem services they provide.

In reality we have the opportunity to optimise the provision of such opportunities and to contribute to social capital and social fabric

  • Healthy Parks Healthy People is a philosophy that resonates world wide
  • Thriving neighbourhoods requires parks/open space needs to be considered high priority, not nice to do
  • Whole of footprint thinking critical
  • Survival and growth of urban parks depends on increased community understanding and support

So, what is our vision?

Healthy Parks Healthy People!