Home Guidelines and Policies Integrating health in urban and territorial planning: a sourcebook | WHO

Integrating health in urban and territorial planning: a sourcebook | WHO

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Integrating health in urban and territorial planning: a sourcebook | WHO: This sourcebook aims to detail why health needs to be part of urban and territorial planning and how to make this happen. It brings together two vital elements we need to build habitable cities on a habitable planet: 1) Processes to guide the development of human settlements – in this document referred to as “urban and territorial planning (UTP)”; and 2) concern for human health, well-being and health equity at all levels – from local to global, and from human to planetary health

This sourcebook identifies a comprehensive selection of existing resources and tools to support the incorporation of health into UTP, including advocacy frameworks, entry points and guidance, as well as tools and illustrative case studies. It does not provide prescriptions for specific scenarios – these should be determined by context, people and available resources. These resources and tools can be used by everyone involved in the planning process. Whether you are an urban planner, mayor, developer, architect, landscape architect, engineer, researcher or public health professional, doctor, nurse, community health worker or local community activist, this document aims to inform and inspire you, while also providing practical information on how to take action. 

Working together, planning and public health professionals can ensure that health promotion, disease prevention and better health equity through good UTP is a central component of the communicable and non-communicable disease reduction and management responses. 

This sourcebook builds on the extensive work of the World Health Organization with regard to urban health and health across sectors, offering practical guidance on how to integrate health into urban planning and governance. It is a useful tool for those involved in implementing the United Nations’ New Urban Agenda, which sets global standards for sustainable urban development. It is a step further in the understanding that health is not only an outcome but also an essential input for urban and territorial planning, articulated in the 2016 World Health Organization document entitled Health as the pulse of the New Urban Agenda. The sourcebook also shows how an integrated approach to health can influence decisions on sectors such as housing, transport, energy, and water and sanitation. More importantly, it considers how they are all linked to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Health features prominently in the inter-linkages between and among the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 11, on sustainable cities and communities, cutting across almost all others and across traditional policy and disciplinary silos. The sourcebook articulates how public health professionals are crucial to good urban and territorial planning. They have a valuable and unique set of skills to bring to the table and can help ensure that routine urban and territorial planning activities, such as economic development or transport planning, are focused on delivering population health and well-being. We encourage you to make use of this sourcebook so that together we can improve our urban environment, our health and our well-being through the realization of the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, so that no one and no place is left behind.

This sourcebook provides the processes needed to harmonize UTP with concern for human health and brings together these two vital professions. It also highlights additional tools, literature resources for decision-makers, urban leaders, planners and health professionals. 

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