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Planning Horizons

Promoting Healthy Cities

The environments in which we live, work and spend leisure time – both the physical nature of places and the social environment of communities – have a large impact on our health and wellbeing.

This Planning Horizons project examines the vital role that planning can play in delivering improvements to health.

The full paper and a summary version are now available from this project.

Healthy placemaking

The rise of challenges such as non-communicable diseases, combined with urbanisation taking place on an unprecedented scale, means that cities will be the places that determine the health and the wellbeing of the majority of the population in the twenty-first century. As the costs linked to health conditions are increasingly unsustainable and are expected to increase in the years to come, we need to take a long-term, preventive and proactive view to promote healthy cities.

Promoting Healthy Cities summarises planning and health challenges and provides examples of where planners, other professionals and decision-makers are leading responses to these health challenges.

In the twenty-first century, we need to develop a new urban agenda focused on healthy placemaking for all. Planning in the broadest sense – from development management and infrastructure to the location of health and community services – can play a central role in creating environments that enhance people's health and wellbeing.

We need to develop more integrated strategies for healthy placemaking, gather greater intelligence on the social and economic determinants of urban health to guide decisions and investments, reform and strengthen institutions to develop systems of governance that urban populations need, and involve more professions and communities to promote healthy cities.

Get involved

We welcome the engagement of the planning community in these projects, including practitioners, academic researchers and sister organisations.

We particularly welcome suggestions for UK and international case studies which demonstrate the role and value of planners and planning in relation to these challenges.

For more information about the Planning Horizons projects, and to get involved, please contact: Dr Michael Harris; Deputy Head of Policy and Research on 0207 929 9493.