Knowledge-based approach for planning healthy cities: The case of Logan-Beaudesert Australia
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Introduction: The planning for healthy cities faces significant challenges due to lack of effective information, systems and a framework to organise that information. Such a framework is critical in order to make accessible and informed decisions for planning healthy cities. The challenges for planning healthy cities have been magnified by the rise of the healthy cities movement, as a result of which, there have been more frequent calls for localised, collaborative and knowledge-based decisions. Some studies have suggested that the use of a ‘knowledge-based’ approach to planning will enhance the accuracy and quality decision-making by improving the availability of data and information for health service planners and may also lead to increased collaboration between stakeholders and the community. A knowledge-based or evidence-based approach to decision-making can provide an ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking through the use of technology during decision making processes. Minimal research has been conducted in this area to date, especially in terms of evaluating the impact of adopting knowledge-based approach on stakeholders, policy-makers and decision-makers within health planning initiatives.Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to present an integrated method that has been developed to facilitate a knowledge-based decision-making process to assist health planning. Methodology: Specifically, the paper describes the participatory process that has been adopted to develop an online Geographic Information System (GIS)-based Decision Support System (DSS) for health planners. Value: Conceptually, it is an application of Healthy Cities and Knowledge Cities approaches which are linked together. Specifically, it is a unique settings-based initiative designed to plan for and improve the health capacity of Logan-Beaudesert area, Australia. This setting-based initiative is named as the Logan-Beaudesert Health Coalition (LBHC). Practical implications: The paper outlines the application of a knowledge-based approach to the development of a healthy city. Also, it focuses on the need for widespread use of this approach as a tool for enhancing community-based health coalition decision making processes.
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