The Lancet have published a three-part series on urban design, transport and health, which reveals the links between good urban design and health.
Cities are interesting, dynamic, and varied places, but can also be noisy, polluted, difficult to navigate, isolating, and crime ridden. 54% of the world's population live in cities and this figure is estimated to increase to 75% by 2050.
Cities offer the best options for housing, education, employment, social interaction, and cultural and leisure activity. Cities will also be key to the future sustainable development agenda and have been highlighted in the UN's Sustainable Development Goal: “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by 2030”.
Road safety, public transport, air quality, as well as safe, inclusive and accessible green and public places get a special mention.
“Many countries concerned by the costs associated with the mounting burden of lifestyle-related chronic disease have put in place plans and public policy initiatives that encourage increased levels of physical activity,” the authors wrote.
Although the successful implementation of these plans varies, the study’s findings “suggest that government policies need to actively pursue integrated urban and transport planning and design interventions—particularly those focused towards achieving more compact cities—that support and encourage model shifts away from private motor vehicles towards new urban mobility.”
The series was led by the University of Melbourne in Australia and the University of California, San Diego. The series’ authors identified key regional planning and local urban design interventions needed to create cities that promote health.
Read the full report in The Lancet - Urban design: an important future force for health and wellbeing