The Role of States and Nation-states in Smart Growth Planning
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Gerrit-Jan Knaap, Huibert A. Haccoû, Kelly J. Clifton and John W. Frece
Chapter 9: Healthy Urban Planning: The Anatomy of a WHO Healthy Cities Project
Hugh Barton INTRODUCTION The environment in which we live is a signiﬁcant determinant of health. Yet in some respects we are literally building unhealthy conditions into the fabric of our cities, cultivating the so-called diseases of civilization. Development and planning agencies appear almost blind to health. This chapter reports on a European World Health Organization (WHO) project which is trying to bridge the gap between health and planning. First it looks at the original marriage of health and settlement planning, and the current reality of the divorce between them. It outlines the WHO Healthy Cities programme as it forges a new relationship with physical design and planning. It then proposes a new conceptual model of settlements that puts human health and well-being at its heart – a health map for urban planners – showing how health and ecosystem approaches can be linked. Finally, it shows how the model is useful in research and practice. Regarding deﬁnitions, the term planning is used rather than design as planning is the term used by the WHO. It is presumed to include urban design. And the deﬁnition of health also follows WHO’s deﬁnition, ‘a state of complete physical, mental and spiritual well-being and not merely the absence of disease or inﬁrmity’. ORIGINS AND CURRENT REALITY Health and urban planning are intimate bedfellows. In nineteenth century Britain, concern about the foul and unsanitary conditions in the cities led directly to the beginning of modern town planning. Design control was seen as a...
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