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Health-oriented urban design

Three main factors affecting human health, genetics, environmental quality, and lifestyle. The quality of urban public space directly affects people’s way of life. Convenience, safety, pleasure and vitality are the basic attributes of public space quality. Urban design should pay more attention to the possible impact of daily use space on people’s physical and mental health.

By doing research around health and urban design, I found a detailed report related a specific type named Health-oriented urban design. It was as the separate seminar in the Planning Forum hosted by Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute at Shanghai in 2016.

Associate Professor Wang, the host of this forum, pointed out modern urban planning originated from solving the pollution brought by urban industrialization. With the development of cities, public health and urban planning are separated into two discipline categories. However, many studies still show that urban spatial elements have a significant impact on specific diseases. She also posted that the promotion of public health by urban planning mainly consists of two paths: one is to eliminate or reduce the potential risks of built environment elements, and the other is to promote healthy and low-carbon living, working, transportation and entertainment.

Subsequent research mostly analyzes the impact of the built environment on physical health and activities with a large amount of data and case reports. But one has attracted me. As we gradually assess whether the built-up environment in cities is healthy, whether it is related to cancer or various diseases, and whether it is related to the physical and mental health such as obesity and depression? What shall planners do to improve or change in spatial planning?

Planner Wu summarized by taking Shenzhen as an example. She emphasized, what city is a healthy city? First, urban residents have a healthy lifestyle, and second, the health of the residents is higher. The core is how to make the city healthier in the physical environment, involving strategies and methods in land use, spatial patterns, and traffic organization. These are all tools of planning for a healthy city. “Healthy” in lifestyles or in physical are both goals. A healthy lifestyle is reflected in the personal time allotment, whether there has a healthy environment when people spend their time and experience a healthy process.


School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509


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