Reconnecting urban planning with health and well-being

urban sustainabilityFor many, a city is a double-edged sword. It creates new wealth and opportunities for many but also results in myriad concerns around adequate job opportunities, hygiene, cost of living, security and quality of life.

Urban waste and pollution have also contributed significantly to global warming, with some 70 per cent of carbon emissions coming from cities, according to the United Nations. This has not only affected crop yields and food security but, increasingly, posed higher risks to susceptibility to new communicable diseases such as the Zika virus, which the World Health Organization has declared an international public health emergency.

Malaysia for example, experienced a 50 percent rise in deaths from dengue fever — like Zika, a tropical disease transmitted by the Aedes mosquito — last year compared with the previous year. According to the Health Ministry, that’s the biggest such jump ever recorded.

Medical experts point to rapid urbanization alongside poor planning as a key cause of the spread of new and existing diseases in cities, a factor that is being exacerbated by global warming. An important tool in responding, then, is to bolster the systems offered by the city and its communities.

The policymaking challenge of reconnecting urban planning with public health was a central point made in a set of stakeholder recommendations for sustainable urbanization released this month, called “The City We Need 2.0”. The report, the result of more than two-dozen public events that took place around the globe over the past half-year, puts forth 10 key “principles” for a new vision of sustainable urbanisation. To read more click here.

The 9th International Urban Design Conference will be held in Melbourne in November.  To express your interest in the 2016 Conference CLICK HERE.

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