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Healthy Districts: Creating Healthy Cities

Author(s): David Green

Abstract / Introduction (download full article at the bottom)

This paper addresses trends in research related to health in urban environments. It is focused on how regulations control development and the resulting public health outcomes. Regulations significantly impact public health and as such there should be legal and scientific mechanisms to monitor the efficacy of adopted regulations. Cities are critical to the efficient operation of society. Beyond just issues of quality of life, they are large consumers of natural resources.

There is a growing concern that the form of cities may have a profound effect on public health: chronic diseases related to obesity, heart disease, and asthma, among many others. But in general, governments are making decisions about their development in the absence of critical data and analysis that provides direction for these actions. There is a clear need to establish research that provides a scientific basis for rationalizing city planning and urban design. This is an opportunity to use the protocols driving research to inform the methodology of urban and city design.

An internationally supported system of testing and evaluation protocols, both for proposed regulations and adopted regulations, is still absent from planning and urban design processes. Jurisdictions continue to rely on theory and precedents alone when adopting new regulations. Because of the significant impact that the built environment has on the health, safety and well-being of the general population, it seems logical that the profession would adopt scientific research protocols. In addition, this paper will examine several specific cases across the globe, regulated and designed by a diverse group of professionals, that articulate the issues outlined above and provide methodologies to frame a scientific method for planning and urban design at a consistent, international level.

Publication: ISOCARP Congress Proceedings, pp. 921-936
Year: 2019

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