Collection launched: 07 May 2021
Urban systems for sustainability and health
Given the imperative that cities reduce their environmental footprints and increase their resilience to environmental change, they have a significant role in protecting and promoting planetary health. At the same time, rapid urbanisation is occurring, often with little attention paid to the sustainability of such growth. Sustainability and public health in existing cities and districts can suffer from lock-in created by the built environment and infrastructure.
However, significant opportunities arise for realising urban population growth in a more sustainable manner which provides co-benefits for human health, wellbeing and equity. In particular, urban policies and development have significant potential to improve population health and wellbeing, but this potential is typically unrealised. At the global level, key initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular SDG 3 (Good health and wellbeing) and 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) aim to improve population health and sustainability in urban environments.
This special issue provides new evidence on how to achieve the transformation of cities to address vital environmental imperatives for population and planetary health in the 21st century. It is also necessary to understand how best to use this research evidence to inform decision-makers and the public about the pathways of development that provide the greatest opportunities for health and sustainability, and to track progress towards the fulfilment of agreed goals. Additionally, identifying methods and factors crucial to successful implementation of development strategies must take full account of the complex interactions between different urban systems.
Jonathon Taylor (Tampere University)
Philippa Howden-Chapman (University of Otago)