Exploring How Healthy Rural and Small Town Built Environments can be Achieved through Municipal Policies which Encourage Innovation
The built environment in rural communities is vastly different from that of an urban environment. There are unique challenges and issues that affect rural communities when considering the built environment and land use planning. This research explored the use of innovative initiatives related to developing healthy built environments in rural municipalities across Ontario. The research methods included a literature review, a survey which was analyzed using NVivo 10 software, as well as key informant interviews with planners and public health professionals. This research uncovered patterns in terms of the lessons and tools which rural communities use in order to implement innovative initiatives and policies. Three case studies were used to demonstrate the results of the research: the City of Kawartha Lakes, County of Huron, and Haliburton. This thesis concludes by providing tools and recommendations for rural and small town communities which are aimed at developing healthy and resilient built environments.