The urban environment has a profound influence on how people live, work and play; conversely, that environment is continually being re-shaped by shifts in lifestyles and patterns of consumption. Human well-being and health, in turn, are both outcomes of urban environments and drivers of further urban change.

This paper finds that there is modest, but far from universal, support for an emerging set of propositions that a sustainable and healthy urban environment is one which has: well connected, walkable and cyclable streets; public green spaces; compact and modular organization with mixed land-uses; and a healthy food environment.

Although a lot of research has been carried out on some pathways, the evidence-base for many other relationships is weak and transferability of findings across countries or cultural contexts is unclear. Fortunately, many on-going urban initiatives are under way providing a good base for future studies of the effects on the ground.

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