New York City is one of the healthiest cities in the United States, with a life expectancy that exceeds the national average. This achievement is the result of visionary planning and sustained investment: New York City passed the nation’s first zoning ordinance to separate people from noxious land uses; led the nation’s sanitary movement to bring air, light, and indoor plumbing to housing; and mandated street and waste sanitation. The City built a water supply system that ensures the purity of our drinking water and a public transportation system that substantially reduces our air pollution.
Despite these successes, health challenges remain—and new ones are emerging—that require creative, modern shifts in how the city operates. Many of PlaNYC’s initiatives advance the cause of public health by improving our air, water, and buildings and enable us to live healthier lives, building upon and supporting Take Care New York, the City’s action plan to promote health.