Community Development and Health


Community development strengthens the economic, physical, and social environments in low-income areas. Community development corporations (CDCs) often play a major role in community development, which seeks to build capacity and address poverty in communities through (public and private) investments in the local economy, and community-based services like housing, sanitation, street and neighborhood improvement, and other social services.

Evidence Base

Economic Development
Community Organizing
Community Infrastructure
Community Resources
Economic growth that is fairly distributed across society builds equity, creates more opportunities for all, and attracts businesses and commercial investment, and in turn, creates more jobs, an increased tax base, and better access to necessary goods and services.
Mobilizing people with shared values and concerns to influence local decision-making and policy facilitates community engagement and civic participation, and strengthens community relationships.
Development and improvement of community buildings, housing, streets, parks, and open spaces increases resident interactions, activity levels, and sense of safety.
Community services like housing, job training, childcare, counseling, along with access to resources like transportation, open space, health care, and quality schools, support individual and family needs and improve quality of life.
Increased household incomes and financial stability
Improved population mental health and decreased chronic disease
Increased community connectedness and belonging and civic muscle
Improved physical and mental health; decreased substance abuse and cancer
Improved health outcomes like cardiovascular disease and obesity, and decreased injury
Improved quality of life and health and well-being outcomes like respiratory illness, diabetes, and mental health

Adapted from The Pew Charitable Trusts, Health Impact Assessment Can Inform Community Development Decisions

Featured Resources

Employment Strongly Influences Health

This resource shows that employment has a strong influence on health. It provides data indicating that employment affects factors such as income stability, acce...

HIAs in Community Development

HIAs can inform community development decisions and help integrate health and well-being goals into community development work.

HIAs that pertain to community development are often focused on specific projects like neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing, and job creation, as well as applying tax credits to community and housing investments. HIAs help community developers identify strategic policy and financing opportunities when it comes to community investments.


East Harlem Neighborhood Plan

East Harlem has lost more than 1,500 affordable housing units since 2011 and is projected to lose nearly 7,000 more over the next decade. The New York Academy o...

Healthy Neighborhoods Equity Fund

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF...

Omaha Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan

The Douglas County Health Department conducted an HIA to inform the Omaha Planning Department and City Council’s Deer Park Neighborhood Redevelopment Pla...

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