Process and impact evaluation of the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy Health Impact Assessment

Mathias, Kaaren R.; Harris-Roxas, Ben
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p1
Academic Journal
Background: despite health impact assessment (HIA) being increasingly widely used internationally, fundamental questions about its impact on decision-making, implementation and practices remain. In 2005 a collaboration between public health and local government authorities performed an HIA on the Christchurch Urban Development Strategy Options paper in New Zealand. The findings of this were incorporated into the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy; Methods: using multiple qualitative methodologies including key informant interviews, focus groups and questionnaires, this study performs process and impact evaluations of the Christchurch HIA including evaluation of costs and resource use; Results: the evaluation found that the HIA had demonstrable direct impacts on planning and implementation of the final Urban Development Strategy as well as indirect impacts on understandings and ways of working within and between organisations. It also points out future directions and ways of working in this successful collaboration between public health and local government authorities. It summarises the modest resource use and discusses the important role HIA can play in urban planning with intersectoral collaboration and enhanced relationships as both catalysts and outcomes of the HIA process; Conclusion: as one of the few evaluations of HIA that have been published to date, this paper makes a substantial contribution to the literature on the impact, utility and effectiveness of HIA.


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