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The long-term health and wellbeing impacts of Healthy New Towns (HNTs): protocol for a baseline and feasibility study of HNT demonstrator sites in England.

Watts, P., Rance, S., McGowan, V. , Brown, H., Bambra, C., Findlay, G. & Harden, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-8621-5066 (2020). The long-term health and wellbeing impacts of Healthy New Towns (HNTs): protocol for a baseline and feasibility study of HNT demonstrator sites in England.. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 6, doi: 10.1186/s40814-020-0550-2


Background: Increasing levels of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mental health problems, high rates of unhealthy behaviours and health inequalities remain major public health challenges worldwide. In the context of increasing urbanisation, there is an urgent need to understand how evidence that living environments shape health, wellbeing and behaviour can be used to design and deliver healthy environments in local urban settings. The Healthy New Town (HNT) programme implemented in England from 2015 consists of ten major housing developments that aim to improve population health through healthy design principles, new models for integrating health and social care and the creation of strong and connected communities. The programme provides a natural experiment in which to investigate the effects on health, wellbeing and inequalities of large-scale interventions targeting the wider social determinants of health. Methods: The research described in this protocol aims to examine the feasibility of a larger study to assess the longer-term health impacts of HNTs, by addressing two research questions: (1) what are the similarities and differences in the HNT programme developments, processes, contexts and expected impacts and outcomes across HNT sites? and (2) how feasible is the use of data from routine sources and existing HNT evaluations and as the baseline for a definitive study to assess impact on health, wellbeing, behavioural and economic outcomes and programme processes? The research will consist of (a) participatory systems mapping with stakeholders to produce a theoretical framework for a longer-term study on the HNT programme, (b) synthesis of existing qualitative data from local HNT evaluations to understand local processes and intervention mechanisms, (c) scoping local and routinely available data to establish a baseline and feasibility for a longer-term study of health and economic outcomes, and (d) building relationships and recruiting HNT sites into the proposed research. Discussion: The proposed research will produce a theoretical framework and assess the feasibility of a definitive study of outcomes of the HNT programme. This research is necessary to understand how longer-term health, wellbeing, behavioural and economic outcomes can be measured, and to inform a definitive study to generate evidence on the effectiveness of the HNT programme.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences
Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution International Public License 4.0.

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