Photo: Martins Zemlickis / Unsplash

Key objectives

This session will address the following key questions relating to how diverse, multi-sector engagement can promote a “culture of health” in all policy decisions surrounding urbanization:

  • What new and innovative methodologies, particularly participatory methods, can be applied in seeking to achieve healthy cities and a culture of health in urban settings?
  • How can local authorities and researchers turn research evidence into practical solutions to facilitate key decision makers in cities to achieve more inclusive and accountable urban governance for equitable health outcomes in urban settings?
  • How can we build partnerships within and beyond the health sector to enhance health equity in urban settings and contribute to broader wellbeing for marginalised urban dwellers?

Achieving inclusive and sustainable cities (SDG11) means ensuring that all urban residents can enjoy good health and wellbeing (SDG3). There are many interlinkages between SDG3 and other SDG goals and the objectives of the New Urban Agenda: for example, clean water and sanitation (SDG6) and responsible consumption and production (SDG12) will contribute to healthy environments, clean air and therefore healthy and happier populations.

However, barriers remain to achieving necessary conditions for good health and wellbeing in urban areas and there is particular need to hear the voices and experiences of marginalised urban dwellers (shaped by social class, gender, caste, sexuality, age, disability, tenancy  and citizenship) in urban planning and development decisions which could impact on health.

Researchers, policy makers and practitioners advancing urban health have found that promoting a “culture of health” in all policy decisions about urbanization provides a strong base for changing the conditions in the built, natural and socioeconomic environments in communities that are critical to the health and well-being of people living in cities. To do this, partnerships between government, civil society and the business sector are critical. This side session will present examples of diverse partnerships in diverse sectors that build on community engagement to create healthy environments.

We need new and innovative approaches to carrying out research on health and wellbeing in cities, including using tools that open up a conversation between different voices and perspectives from urban communities, local authorities, and researchers, and break the boundaries between research ‘users’ and researchers.

Session format:

  • Brief opening plenary presentations from 4-5 speakers representing different organisations (25 minutes)
  • 45 minutes break-out groups around three key topics, each considering new methodologies around understanding urban health challenges, the implications for urban planning, and partnerships required for effective implementation
  • 45 minutes plenary for groups to share key messages and ways forward for effective and inclusive partnerships for urban health

Proposed topics for breakout groups:

  1. Urban environments and the link to health, with a focus on housing, infrastructure and informal settlements and health issues – lead moderators from ARISE, Cambridge University
  2. Urban form and the link to mental health and wellbeing, with a focus on the role urban planning for green and blue spaces – lead moderators from SEI
  3. Urban form and non-communicable diseases – lead moderators from WHO, ISC


Visit the World Urban Forum website to register.