Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Cities / Healthy Cities

Healthy City Design 2017

Unleashing health by design: Creating a culture of wellness in our cities

By Marc Sansom 24 Jan 2018 0

Confronted with a crisis of human and planetary health, cities are now the new battleground for rethinking approaches to sustainable development and building a healthier and health-creating society. Prof Jeremy Myerson introduces the inaugural Healthy City Design 2017 International Congress.


Urban populations are growing rapidly, a trend which – when combined with an ageing society, rising chronic conditions, and the urgent need to respond to climate change – presents a powerful case for new thinking on how to design more sustainable, resilient cities that enhance health, wellbeing and social inclusion.

Organised by SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange in collaboration with the Helen Hamlyn Centre
for Design, Royal College of Art, the inaugural Healthy City Design 2017 (HCD 2017) Congress seeks to share and stimulate new research, innovative practice and progressive policy ideas on how to design economically and ecologically sustainable cities that enhance citizen health and wellbeing.

A new interdisciplinary collaboration between public health and medical professionals, urban planners and designers, environmentalists, policymakers and citizens is required to create a whole-system approach that recognises the importance of preserving the earth’s natural systems and resources to help develop a culture of wellness and health in our cities. This new vision should consider:

  • new spatial strategies to support factors that positively in uence health and wellbeing;
  • better resilience planning to equip cities in the face of climate change, natural disasters and
  • the rapid spread of infectious disease;
  • transport and technologies that promote healthier and more ecologically supportive modes of travel;
  • ways of working that improve work-life balance and enhance employee productivity and enjoyment;
  • healthier homes and neighbourhoods that nurture family wellbeing and community interaction, and
  • specialist housing for older people that supports independence, home care and social inclusion; and
  • rethinking urban planning and design to create healthier and more sustainable ways of living.

Healthy City Design 2017 features two days of high-level, insightful, provocative and entertaining presentations. Each day will comprise three separate topic streams (six in total), and open and close with keynote plenary sessions. Day one will focus on citymaking, sustainable development and smarter cities, while day two will cover issues around urban planning, homes and neighbourhoods, and work and mobility.

The event will also host a poster gallery of innovative research and projects (pp22-23), a knowledge and ideas space, and an end-of-congress cocktail reception (p24). On the following day, 18 October, an exciting study tour (p25) will provide further insight into the themes explored at the Congress.

1. The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health: Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch. Lancet, 2015; 386: 1973-2028

Organisations involved