The Urban Health Culture of the Future

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Juul | Frost Arkitekter have developed “The Urban Health Culture of the Future”: a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to planning and urban development across various scales, categories of needs and sectors. “The Urban Health Culture of the Future” is aimed at everyone concerned with urban planning and relevant to private and public developers, planning authorities as well as consultants: architects, landscape architects and urban planners – Only together it is possible to create the urban health culture of the future.

The Challenges of Urbanization

More and more people are gathering in cities around the world. Today, more than 55% of the world’s population live in urban areas, which is expected to increase to 68% over the next 20-30 years.

As the populations of urban areas grow, the design of cities and urban areas plays an increasingly important role in securing people’s quality of life and health: Sedimentary lifestyle, noncommunicable diseases, loneliness and social segregation are some of the urban health issues that together with the demographic changes and climate changes poses new challenges to our urban well-being.

The design of our cities, built environment and urban spaces has an impact on our health and well-being as well as our health culture: how we live our everyday lives, our behaviour and the choices we make. So, what does the urban health culture look like? Can it be created, maintained and developed? And how can it influence our ways of urban development?

Health on the Urban Agenda

There’s a need for a new urban health culture, a re-integration of health and planning and prioritization of health on the urban agenda.

Based on international collaborations with a focus on health, Juul |Frost Arkitekter has launched the project “The Future’s Urban Health Culture” with support from the philanthropic association Realdania. The project aims are to:

  • introduce explicit demands on health and well-being in planning documents;
  • foster collaborations across sectors and disciplines;
  • develop a holistic approach to health i.e. social, mental and physical well-being;
  • tools to measure the effect of initiatives on urban behaviour and health.

From Policies to Pragmatic Tools – Putting Knowledge into Practice

Internationally the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, WHO’s “Healthy Cities” focus on urban health at policy level. But there is a need for pragmatic tools to complement policies.Through a collaborative process with urban planners and an interdisciplinary think-tank with representatives from among others Danish universities and major health organizations, they have developed a new holistic planning method and tools to integrate health and planning and measure effect and impact.

The tools are based on case-studies, best-practice and an interdisciplinary knowledge acquisition. They comprise strategic and practical tools, divided on 6 themes: health equity, quality of life, social neighbourhoods, green areas, active living and the integration of research.

Prospects: Promoting Health, Well-being and Quality of Life

The adaptable and holistic method and tools can be applied across all scales and phases. They provide an approach for working integrated with mental, physical and social well-being, from initial mapping of potentials for health promotion, appraisal and design, to strategy implementation, construction and evaluation as well as measurement of effects.

The publication can be downloaded for free at this link: The Urban Health Culture of the Future