The Built Environment Assessment Tool Manual

Measuring the built environment can help assess needs and set priorities for creating healthy community design. 

  • The built environment includes buildings, roads, sidewalks, utilities, homes, transit, fixtures, parks and all other man-made entities that form the physical characteristics of a community.
  • The BE Tool assess as core set of features selected by research experts: built environment infrastructure (e.g., road type, curb cuts/ramps, intersections/crosswalks, traffic control, transportation), walkability (e.g. sidewalk/path features, walking safety, aesthetics & amenities), bikeability (e.g., bicycle lane/path features), recreational sites and structures, and the food environment (e.g., access to grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets, etc.).
  • The built environment can influence health by affecting rates of physical activity, air pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter that can exacerbate asthma and respiratory disease, and emissions of carbon dioxide that contributes to climate change.
  • The manual provides background on the importance of the built environment and health and describes data collection and analysis processes for the BE Tool. The tool, instructions, and a data coding and scoring table are included.
  • The BE Tool was created by ICF International through a contract with the CDC.
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