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Journal Articles Health Promotion International Year : 2021

The challenge of assessing social cohesion in health impact assessment


Health impact assessment (HIA) is a method by which a policy, programme or project falling outside traditional health fields, may be judged as to its potential effects on the health of a population to mitigate negative impacts and strengthen the positive ones. Proposals are analysed from the perspective of all the determinants of health. In France, HIAs are mainly applied to urban development projects where social cohesion (SCo) is a major issue. Although the HIA method is well structured as a step-by-step process, there are no guidelines for assessing SCo. This article opens with literature review to clarify the concept of SCo and to understand how the built environment influences SCo and how social environment influence health. Drawing on this work, this paper presents an analytical framework to assess SCo, integrating both the spatial and physical dimensions of urban design and the perceptions of the neighbourhood characteristics. Following a brief overview of the key findings from applying this framework to HIA of an urban development project, the paper discusses its related strengths and weaknesses. The framework could be a useful tool for HIA as it embraces knowledge from both urban planning and social sciences. It also allows for an overall analysis of all the indicators without relying on a checklist. Nevertheless, it should be tested further to improve its validity
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hal-03122562 , version 1 (05-02-2021)



Julie Romagon, Françoise Jabot. The challenge of assessing social cohesion in health impact assessment. Health Promotion International, 2021, 36 (3), pp.753-764. ⟨10.1093/heapro/daaa067⟩. ⟨hal-03122562⟩
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