Spatial Dynamics in the Urban Century
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Karima Kourtit, Peter Nijkamp and Roger R. Stough
Chapter 11: Urbanization and quality of life: an overview of the health impacts of urban and rural residential patterns
The worldwide rise in urbanization leads to a “New Urban World” (see Kourtit and Nijkamp, 2013) which is characterized by higher population densities and higher spatial concentrations of human activity in designated places. This phenomenon may create more options for education, innovation, and choice variety. However, it may also prompt various externalities, such as environmental decay or decline in human health. These studies will address the health outcomes of the urban way of life, in contrast with other settlement patterns (e.g., in rural areas). Social determinants of health, defined as “the full set of social conditions in which people live and work” (see Solar and Irwin, 2007), have been studied extensively for nearly five decades. A series of studies have shown that health outcomes are affected not only by individual socioeconomic status, but also by the physical environment, and socioeconomic and political circumstances. In March 2005, the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) was set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) to collect, collate, and synthesize global evidence on the social determinants of health and their impact on health inequity, and to make recommendations for action to address that inequity (see CSDH, 2008). As the CSDH indicates, to explore social determinants of health is still a major issue to be addressed.
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