Planetary change and sustainable urban health

Outline
Team
  • Expected start date:
    2014•02•03
    Expected end date:
    2018•06•01
    Institute:
    UNU-IIGH
    Project Status:
    Ongoing
    Project Type:
    Research
    Project Manager :
    Jose Gabriel Siri

    Major processes of planetary change, including climate change, urbanization and globalization, are dramatically shifting the way human beings interact with each other and with their environment. Cities, in particular, offer new challenges and new opportunities, but their growing complexity threatens to outpace the ability of governments and communities to manage the wellbeing of their citizens, as strongly evidenced by the growth of intractable problems such as the overweight and obesity epidemic, by the rising human and economic tolls of natural disasters, and by the increasing pace of emergence and global spread of pathogens and microbial resistance, among others. Such problems are most strongly felt in urban areas — which, indeed, are where most people now live — and are in large part the result of decisions about urban governance and lifestyles. The transition to urban lives and lifestyles is at a critical point — we are projected to double the extent of our cities over the coming decades. The United Nations must play a critical coordinating role in this transition, both in contributing to understanding of the systemic structures that lead to deficits in urban health and wellbeing and in motivating smart and healthy urban development, particularly in the cities of the developing world. This project seeks to improve understanding of complex urban problems at the intersection of public health and urban planning and management, with due consideration for sustainability and an emphasis on systems approaches