Planning for Equity, Accessibility, and Community Health

What is PEACH?

PEACH Research Unit is part of Dalhousie University’s School of Planning in Halifax, NS. We are a team of dedicated faculty members, students, and partners who lead and support projects exploring how planning can better achieve more equitable, accessible, and healthy communities. Our work aims to inform urban design and planning practices that shape the places in which we live, work, and play.

We believe in learning through collaboration and first-hand experience. A big part of our research is learning from those who have personal knowledge of the barriers that exist in the built environment.

An image of a walking path on citadel hill in halifax with the clock tower and harbour visible
Two PEACH staff sit at a booth at a public event talking to community members.

What kind of work does PEACH do?

PEACH Research Unit is currently funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the New Frontiers in Research Fund – Exploration stream (SSHRC and CIHR), and Research Nova Scotia. Our work aims to assist and inform planning and design practices that promote equity, accessibility, and health for persons of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

We are a growing research group. Our projects are often unique to the communities of Canada’s east coast and significant across the country. Ongoing projects are exploring accessibility in the built environment, and connections between health and community planning.

PEACH is continuing to investigate relationships between level of access to services and amenities, and physical and mental health outcomes in communities through the SAMoSA Study. The project A Tactical Urbanism Approach to Assessing the Value of Accessible Public Space is exploring inclusive design options for public spaces and methods of valuing accessible space in order to motivate inclusive design practices in future development. The lecture series First-Person Narratives for an Accessible Built Environment features speakers from Nova Scotia’s disability community to inform our understanding of accessible design. Recordings are posted to our YouTube channel.

Interested in collaborating with us?

Our work would not be possible without our valued partnerships with professionals, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, government entities, and community members. PEACH has completed several projects in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Accessibility Directorate. These include a background report on accessibility standards across jurisdictions and the interim guidelines for assessing the accessibility of municipal assets in Nova Scotia. PEACH also works in close partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation on projects to inform decision-makers of best practices in the field of planning for health and meaningful access.

PEACH will continue to consult with persons who experience barriers to access first-hand, and develop innovative research questions alongside our partner institutions. Through our work, we seek to bring together groups with diverse expertise to share and grow knowledge between stakeholders. Opportunities for students to get involved with our research will be posted to this website when available. PEACH also organizes public lectures and events that offer a platform for sharing knowledge.

Our team is always looking for opportunities to work with other sectors and community partners. We invite you to reach out to us at

A close up image of a person walking on a boardwalk using a cane as a mobility aid