The National Environmental Database (NED) is a central repository of built, natural and social environmental indicators related to physical activity and health. The NED is being developed by Urban Design 4 Health, Inc. (UD4H) with funding provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).
The NED provides a wide-range of environmental metrics at the Census block group level to enable the assessment of how neighborhood context can support or hinder public health. The NED has been created from over 30 national and region-specific databases from various federal and regional agencies, containing over 200 variables. The NED establishes a nationally consistent, standardized and centrally located set of individual and composite metrics that characterize the built, natural and social environment. The NED also delivers a combination of individual variables as well as newly created composite scores with the aim of exposing different patterns in the data across geographic space.
The NED provides planners, public health officials and researchers with a single source for high quality, high resolution, environmental metrics with uniform nationwide coverage. These data can help guide programmatic actions and interventions to encourage healthier lifestyles. The consolidated and enhanced database supports place-based analyses of a variety of environmental indicators as part of the RWJF Culture of Health initiative. The primary elements of the Culture of Health most pertinent to the environment include:
- Good health flourishes across geographic, demographic and social sectors.
- Business, government, individuals, and organizations work together to build healthy communities and lifestyles.
Methods and data used to develop the NED, including the retrieval, manipulation, assembly and standardization of nationally available datasets in various formats, are described in the variable documentation section of the web portal.