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 community 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.

Two PEACH staff sit at a booth at a public event talking to community members.
Two women wearing PEACH shirts and face masks sit in an outdoor booth at a public event. PEACH volunteers also appear in the background.

What kind of work does PEACH do?

PEACH Research Unit studies the intersection of our shared built environment with the goals of inclusion, accessibility and improved health and wellbeing for all. PEACH is also proud to partner on community projects that build and share public knowledge of inclusive communities and healthy, innovative design. Our research results and outreach activities ultimately aim to inform best practices in the fields of planning, architecture, and design.

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 projects are often unique to the communities of Canada’s east coast, while exploring topics that are significant across the country.

We invite you to read the project pages of our website to learn about our continuing research.

Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) ‘s documentary, “Road to Inclusion”, with host Grant Hardy, explores the important role of city planning and urban design in achieving inclusive communities. For all who are interested in learning more about building inclusive, healthy cities, please visit AMI’s website to view this production via the link provided.

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. Please reach out to us at

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