The Rise of the City
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The Rise of the City

Spatial Dynamics in the Urban Century

Edited by Karima Kourtit, Peter Nijkamp and Roger R. Stough

This book examines urban growth and the dynamics that are transforming the city and city regions in the 21st century focusing specifically on the spatial aspects of this process in the “Urban Century”. Forces that are driving city growth include agglomeration spillovers, concentration of innovation and entrepreneurship, diversity of information and knowledge resources, and better amenities and higher wages. These benefits produce a positive reinforcing system that attracts more people with new ideas and information, fuelling innovation, new products and services and more high-wage jobs, thereby attracting more people. Such growth also produces undesirable effects such as air and water pollution, poverty, congestion and crowding. These combined factors both impact and change the geography and spatial dynamics of the city. These transformations and the public policies that may be critical to the quality of life, both today and in the future, are the substance of this book.
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Chapter 11: Urbanization and quality of life: an overview of the health impacts of urban and rural residential patterns

Noriko Ishikawa, Karima Kourtit and Peter Nijkamp


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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