Rennes is gearing up to implement very low carbon transport systems and promote active travel options and electric public transport. The energy supply will be decarbonised with clean renewable options. 20% of the city’s surface area (1000 hectares) will become green space, protecting watersheds, reducing heat islands, and improving health and wellbeing.
Health is now part of the area project since it is explicitly included in the development project of the metropolitan urban planning policy.
The École des Hautes Études en Santé Publique (EHESP) research team works closely with local stakeholders in the City of Rennes and Rennes Métropole to identify pathways to translate healthy urban planning from theory into practice.
Since 2010, EHESP has been developing a body of research and expertise on healthy urban planning to understand the multiple co-benefits of urban environment strategies for health and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Among many initiatives to bring the research sector and local authorities closer together and sustain evidence-based decision-making, two important achievements have been the establishment of an interdisciplinary urban planning and health governance body, and testing of a healthy urban planning guideline called ISadOrA in a neighbourhood urban renewal project in Rennes.
The EHESP ISadOra guide was used to identify priority issues for health and wellbeing (active mobility, inclusion, social interaction, exposure to pollutants, the urban heat island), and to support urban development that offers co-benefits for health, environment and climate change. The partnership between institutions, urban planners and scientists has produced summary sheets structured around 12 themes. The sheets are transferable to other urban contexts and are designed to help planners to adopt a healthy urban planning approach.
This work has been facilitated by the establishment of a governance body that brings together local institutions and scientists, enabling exchange of knowledge, development of trust and cross-disciplinary work.
For further information on healthy urban planning in France, check special issue n.459 (2022) of La Santé en Action, edited by Santé Publique France (the French national health agency).
Rennes has been committed to healthy and sustainable city development through pioneering public health initiatives since the founding of the French Healthy Cities Network in 1994. Working with CUSSH, the École des hautes études en santé publique and Rennes Métropole, the aim now is to translate this environmental commitment into urgent action.