Cities, health and well-being

The 2011 Urban Age conference in Hong Kong provides a platform from which to continue our research and collaborations on urban health and well-being. Building on this, LSE Cities hosted a dedicated Lecture Series on “Cities, health and well-being” during 2012/13.

Cities are critical sites for enquiry and action in relation to health and well-being. With up to 70 per cent of the world’s population estimated to be living in urban areas by 2050, global health will be determined increasingly in cities. Yet while urbanisation is associated with improvements in income levels and health outcomes, at the same time, the pressures of urban growth have contributed to the emergence of stark social and health inequalities in cities of the developed and developing world. Furthermore, as Africa and Asia become the locus of urbanisation, researchers and policy-makers are increasingly contextualising, questioning or even moving beyond the urban health knowledge and approaches we have developed over the past century mainly in Western Europe and North America.

In response to these challenges, the 2011 Urban Age Hong Kong conference, organized by the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Alfred Herrhausen Society in partnership with the University of Hong Kong, brought together over 170 planners, architects, sociologists, medical doctors, public health experts and economists from 36 cities and 22 countries to help identify the routes through which new meanings, methods and interventions for health and well-being might be developed for greater effect in today’s cities. A report of the conference discussions, videos of all presentations and discussions, and the conference newspaper can all be accessed online. Initial results from new research by LSE Cities and the University of Hong Kong explored urban health and well-being at a range of spatial scales and through different methodologies, including an international comparison of health and well-being in 129 metropolitan regions, intra-urban spatial analysis (health outcomes, social determinants, spatial DNA) of health and social outcomes in Hong Kong, and qualitative analysis of experiences of living at density with residents of four Hong Kong neighbourhoods.

We are now developing our academic publishing, building on initial research published in the Urban Age Hong Kong newspaper, as well as the conference discussions themselves, in collaboration with conference participants Professor Paul Yip (University of Hong Kong) and Professor Sharon Friel (Australian National University), amongst others. This will include a series of academic articles as well as an edited, collaborative book.

 

Journal articles
Conference newspapers
Conference reports
Magazine articles
  • Burdett, R., and Taylor, M., 2011. ‘Can Cities Be Good For You?’, in Cities Health and Well-being, Urban Age Conference Newspaper, London: Urban Age programme.