What next? Expanding our view of city planning and global health, and implementing and monitoring evidence-informed policy
WashU Affiliated Authors: Deborah Salvo PhD (Brown School)
Abstract: This Series on urban design, transport, and health aimed to facilitate development of a global system of health-related policy and spatial indicators to assess achievements and deficiencies in urban and transport policies and features. This final paper in the Series summarises key findings, considers what to do next, and outlines urgent key actions. Our study of 25 cities in 19 countries found that, despite many well intentioned policies, few cities had measurable standards and policy targets to achieve healthy and sustainable cities. Available standards and targets were often insufficient to promote health and wellbeing, and health-supportive urban design and transport features were often inadequate or inequitably distributed. City planning decisions affect human and planetary health and amplify city vulnerabilities, as the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted. Hence, we offer an expanded framework of pathways through which city planning affects health, incorporating 11 integrated urban system policies and 11 integrated urban and transport interventions addressing current and emerging issues. Our call to action recommends widespread uptake and further development of our methods and open-source tools to create upstream policy and spatial indicators to benchmark and track progress; unmask spatial inequities; inform interventions and investments; and accelerate transitions to net zero, healthy, and sustainable cities.