While the fields of modern city planning and public health emerged together in the nineteenth century to address urban inequities and infectious diseases, they were largely disconnected for much of the 20th century. In the 21st century, new health challenges of urbanization and globalization are emerging: from racial and ethnic disparities to land-use sprawl, to providing basic services to the millions of urban poor around the world living in informal slum settlements.
Reconnecting the fields of city planning and public health to address these and other 21st-century urban health challenges is the focus of Healthy Cities, a four-volume collection edited by Jason Corburn. Corburn is an associate professor with the School of Public Health and the Department of City & Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. He also codirects Berkeley's joint Master of City Planning and Master of Public Health degree program and he is a core faculty member in the Center for Global Public Health's Slum Health Initiative.
“Healthy Cities argues that deliberate policies created the health inequities we see in urban neighborhoods today around the world," says Corburn. "So only deliberate new policies and planning will reverse these trends and promote greater urban health equity.”
In the collection, Corburn brings together the very best foundational and cutting-edge research and scholarship and offers an in-depth analysis of the importance of healthy cities in contemporary as well as in historical context.
“Our old ways of epidemiology and health promotion are inadequate to deal with the multi-dimensional urban health challenges of the twenty-first century," he says. "For too long, public health has taken what I call a ‘health-in-cities’ approach that focuses on one disease, one behavior, or one exposure at a time. I argue for an approach that simultaneously addresses multiple hazards, the institutions that are responsible for perpetuating unhealthy exposures, and the policy changes that can promote wellness and health equity.”
Corburn’s collection was published in July 2015 by Routledge as part of their series, Critical Concepts in Built Environment, which brings together the most significant and influential writings on key themes within topics across architecture,planning, construction, landscape, and property.
By Jasmin M. Huynh