Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Cities / Healthy Cities

Healthy City Design 2019

Rewiring the urban landscape for people and planetary health

By Dr Audrey de Nazelle 29 Nov 2019 0

Whether it’s climate change, physical inactivity, air pollution, traffic injuries, social isolation, stress, or inequalities, we all agree these major urban environmental and health challenges need to be addressed profoundly and urgently. But the way we address these problems matters.


Typically, we use siloed and often piecemeal approaches. They sometimes have knock-on effects and unintended consequences. If we remind ourselves of the purpose of tackling each of these problems and let a healthier, more sustainable and resilient society be the goal of our policies, rather than merely compliance with standards and targets, we’ll find different types of solutions emerge as more advantageous. For example, walking and cycling can be convenient and low-cost alternatives to driving, thus reducing air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and noise, and also an opportunity to integrate healthy physical activity in daily lifestyles. 

The infrastructure and urban design features conducive to walking and cycling may in turn have further benefits, such as traffic safety and greenspace exposure. Evidence on benefits and co-benefits of different types of urban policies that tackle some of our greatest urban health challenges jointly will be presented, making the case for holistic approaches to urban policy decision-making, particularly through urban planning and design strategies. 

Organisations involved