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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Ford

Why health and wellbeing should be at the centre of urban planning

A parent and child cycling in the sunshine along a quiet cycle path

A really interesting article by Dr Gary Fuller, who is an air pollution scientist at Imperial College London - Why health and wellbeing should be at centre of urban planning (The Guardian)

Our 3 primary takeaways that our partners and associates involved in neighbourhood or urban planning could be mindful of.

1️⃣ Health-Centric Urban Planning

- The review underscores a significant, yet preventable, impact of urban and transport planning on respiratory health. Planners should place health and wellbeing at the heart of their strategies, not only to reduce the prevalence of diseases but also to enhance the overall quality of life for communities.

2️⃣ Benefits of Low Emission and Low Traffic Zones

- Evidence suggests that initiatives like Low Emission Zones (LEZs) and prioritising pedestrians over vehicles in urban design can lead to improvements in air quality, which correlates with reductions in heart and circulatory issues. The creation of environments that decrease reliance on cars in favour of walking, cycling, and public transport is crucial in fostering healthier communities.

3️⃣ The 15-Minute City Concept and Public Engagement:

- Investing in local amenities to support the '15-minute city' concept encourages physical activity and reduces sedentary lifestyles, which benefits both physical and mental health. However, achieving this requires a shared vision and active co-creation with citizens to overcome political controversies and ensure that the community is fully engaged and supportive of the transformations.

Incorporating these takeaways into local planning can lead to more sustainable and healthier communities, aligning with contemporary best practices and the priorities of urban populations.


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