Understanding Health and Wellbeing Linkages in Urban Systems / STREAM H-Well-being in cities

Organizer: Franz Gatzweiler (Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, CN); José Siri (United Nations University International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) Kuala Lumpur, MAL).

Contact: gatzweiler@gmail.com, franz@iue.ac.cn; siri@unu.edu

Urban systems—which, for the first time, accommodate the majority of the earth’s human population—are prodigiously complex, mirroring the multi-faceted changes in technology, demography, economy and society in recent times. As we develop a greater appreciation for this intricacy, it becomes increasingly apparent that urban health and wellbeing depend not solely on natural processes or on the actions of public health entities, but on how cities are built and function and on a multiplicity of linkages that mutually affect all segments of urban society. “Cities are people,” or living systems, not entirely self-contained, ever changing and never “ideal.” They are defined by complex interconnecting networks and marked by conjoined agglomerations. All too often, short-sighted decision making, without an understanding of the complexities of urban systems, results in negative outcomes for health and wellbeing. Decision-makers at all levels act toward goals that are rarely coordinated and often at odds, based on their own aspirations and understanding of urban processes. These failures partially explain why a variety of urban challenges to health and wellbeing continue to grow, despite available scientific evidence (e.g., malnutrition, epidemic, or urban sprawl).

The proposed stream will examine how systems approaches can illuminate the complex interplay of natural and anthropogenic systems in cities in service of better decision-making for urban health and wellbeing. Convened by the ICSU-IAMP-UNU Programme on Urban Health and Wellbeing, it will focus on reciprocal linkages between urban health and wellbeing and various urban subsystems, including transport, food systems and food security, waste management, energy use, and pollution, as well as interactions with broader global phenomena, such as urban teleconnections, globalization, and natural disasters and climate change.

The session calls for papers which contribute to understanding these systemic connections, and in particular to elucidating the consequences on urban health and wellbeing of “ideal-planned-efficient” versus “systemic-complex” decision-making approaches.

We expect to receive submissions that use systems approaches to address well-specified problems of urban health and wellbeing, making concrete policy recommendations. Submissions should be innovative, interdisciplinary and make use of rigorous qualitative or quantitative analysis and modelling. Contributions should be attuned to social and cultural aspects to urban health and wellbeing, going beyond traditional reductionist approaches in biomedicine, public health or urban planning.

H1 Understanding Health and Wellbeing Linkages in Urban Systems

Chairs: Franz Gatzweiler (Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Contacts: gatzweiler02@gmail.com

Dina Farag, Hany M. Ayad, Ashraf Wahdan
Examining the Relationship between Selected Urban Determinants and Respiratory Diseases in Alexandria, Egypt

Barry Newell, Katrina Proust
Evolving Cities for Human Health and Wellbeing

V.S. Saravanan
Urbanization and Human Health in Urban India: Institutional Analysis of Water-Borne Diseases in Ahmedabad

Valerie Gibson, Rubin Ge
Urban food systems and health – the case of Xiamen, China

Robin Stott
Inequality, Environment and Control for Urban Health – An agent based model

Distributed papers

Jane Dixon, Emily Ballantyne-Brodie
Planning and design for healthy urban food systems: what is the role for community?

Sathish Selvakumar, Anuj Ghanekar, Priyanka Jariwala, Vikas Desai
Health and Wellbeing – The role of partnerships in reducing impact on dependent sub-systems

Stephanie Castendyk
Emotional Health and the Architecture it needs

Shaharudin Idrus, Abdul Samad Hadi
Challenges of Exceptional Northeast Monsoon Floods and the Implications on Small Towns Livability in The Affected Regions of Malaysia: An Ecosystems Approach

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