Healthy Cities for Every Generation – How Sustainable Urban Planning Frameworks Could Address Public Health Needs More Inclusively

Alerted by the COVID-19 pandemic, experts from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) shed light on the importance of improving the health of urban residents and in particular of the aging population.

© See-Ming Lee via Creative Commons

It is a complex task to plan a city that is not only inclusive, but actively promotes well-being and anticipates the needs of the elderly. It requires a framework that is based on a public health hierarchy of needs as well as urban planners who utilise and further elaborate it. Urbanisation is on a steady rise, hence the number of elderly living in the cities will increase just as much. Including this growing group of people with specific needs is a key factor in building and maintaining a city’s competitiveness, especially considering the increasing challenges urban governance faces. To do so, cities must be able to recognise and manage health risks and opportunities linked to economic growth and development.

COVID-19 has demonstrated how public and individual health factors have a direct impact on the city’s ability to recover economically, for example in the sphere of local finance. Recognising the higher health risk for aged citizens, the authors developed a framework to help cities deal with these challenges. The authors connected sustainable urban planning and management with health and age-friendly outcomes as they developed a guide for urban planners in the public health sector. Additionally, the ADB provides online resources to facilitate the use of this new approach.  The framework incorporates lessons and best practices from the Asian Development Bank’s projects in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Read in detail about the new Health Impact Assessment, how it its put into practice in China and find extensive and insightful resources on the topic here.