Special Issue "Healthy Urban Planning"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Lan Wang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
Interests: healthy city planning and governance; planning theory; strategic planning
Prof. Dr. Maria Chiara Tosi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Università IUAV di Venezia (IUAV), Dorsoduro 2206, 30123 Venice, Italy
Interests: urban design; children-friendly city; urbanism
Prof. Dr. Yanwei Chai
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Urban and Economic Geography, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China
Interests: time geography; healthy city planning; smart city

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Since the World Health Organization (WHO) proposed the concept of the healthy city in 1984, a healthy city movement has been organized and expanded all around the world. Healthy city planning promoted in this movement has focused on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages. This concept, at present, stresses and makes more evident the relevance of the physical environment's impact on the health, well-being, and welfare of residents. The support for urban actions and practices is devoted to increasing physical activity, providing wider access to healthy food, elevating air and water quality, and strengthening social connections to create healthier communities, while at the same time guaranteeing equitable access to education, housing, jobs, and basic infrastructure.

The aim of this Special Issue is to discuss which kind of innovations in urban planning and design are needed to promote, finance, and sustain a health-oriented built environment, which has the potential to reshape the lifestyle and working patterns of urban residents, and to assure sociospatial justice. Theoretical, empirical, and methodological contributions to this Special Issue deal with strategies, practices, and processes of urban planning that directly affect health and wellbeing in our cities.

Papers addressing one or more of the following dimension are invited for this Special Issue, especially those combining a high academic standard coupled with a practical focus on providing optimal healthy city planning solutions.

  • Physical activity and urban design;
  • Urban environment and health outcomes;
  • Planning, regulating and financing healthy neighborhoods;
  • Social innovation and health services provision.

Prof. Dr. Lan Wang
Prof. Dr. Maria Chiara Tosi
Prof. Dr. Yanwei Chai
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Healthy city planning
  • Physical activity
  • Health outcome
  • Healthy neighborhood
  • Health services provision

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Relationship between Green Space in a Neighbourhood and Cardiovascular Health in the Winter City of China: A Study Using a Health Survey for Harbin
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020513 - 14 Jan 2020
Abstract
A severely cold climate has a significant impact on cardiovascular health, involving temperature, air environment, exercise and diet. Existing studies have revealed that green space, as an important health resource, may play a positive role in promoting cardiovascular health through the air environment [...] Read more.
A severely cold climate has a significant impact on cardiovascular health, involving temperature, air environment, exercise and diet. Existing studies have revealed that green space, as an important health resource, may play a positive role in promoting cardiovascular health through the air environment and exercise. Studies focusing on the correlation between green space and cardiovascular health are rarely carried out in winter cities. The purpose of this paper is to take a winter city in China as an empirical case to explore the correlation between green space in a neighbourhood and cardiovascular health in a representative sample at the neighbourhood level, combining the results with Urban Residential Area Planning and Design Standards (GB50180-2018) in China and the existing research. The results showed that green space characteristics of a neighbourhood were related to cardiovascular disease and some of its risk factors. In neighbourhoods with a Green Space Ratio lower than 28%, residents had a higher risk of physical inactivity, overweight or obesity, hypertension and stroke. In neighbourhoods with a Green View Index lower than 15%, residents had a higher risk of physical inactivity, overweight/obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia and stroke. A correlation was found between evergreen tree configuration type and the prevalence of overweight/obesity and hypertension. No correlation was found between the type of sports field and cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, except for hypertension. Residents’ cardiovascular health scores also showed significant differences among neighbourhoods with different green space characteristics. Intervention efforts may benefit from emphasising the importance of improving the Green Space Ratio and Green View Index effectively in a neighbourhood to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Urban Planning)
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Open AccessArticle
Does the Connectivity of Urban Public Green Space Promote Its Use? An Empirical Study of Wuhan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010297 - 01 Jan 2020
Abstract
A high greenness level can enhance green space use and outdoor physical activity. However, rapid urbanization and high-density development have led to the loss or fragmentation of green space, especially urban public green space (PGS). With the aim of increasing the health benefits [...] Read more.
A high greenness level can enhance green space use and outdoor physical activity. However, rapid urbanization and high-density development have led to the loss or fragmentation of green space, especially urban public green space (PGS). With the aim of increasing the health benefits from PGS, some planners and researchers suggest connecting existing PGSs to encourage urban residents to use the PGS, and thus, to improve public health. Does this suggestion stand with robustness? By taking 42 sub-districts in the inner area of Wuhan as the study objects, this paper examines the correlation between the connectivity of PGS and its use. We also explore how the characteristics of PGS and the facilities/functions in the neighboring areas influence this relationship by using Location Based Service data (WeChat-Yichuxing data), point of interest (POI) data, and remote-sensing image, etc. Using Regression Analysis, we found that there is no high correlation between PGS use and its connectivity. The possible causes might be attributed to the fact that PGS use is profoundly influenced by multifaceted competing impact factors, and no one can stand dominantly. It is interesting to see that the density of companies is positively, but slightly, related to PGS use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Urban Planning)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of High-Density Urban Built Environment on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Case Study of Jing’an District, Shanghai
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010252 - 30 Dec 2019
Abstract
Respiratory health is a focus of interdisciplinary studies involving urban planning and public health. Studies have noted that urban built environments have impacts on respiratory health by influencing air quality and human behavior such as physical activity. The aim of this paper was [...] Read more.
Respiratory health is a focus of interdisciplinary studies involving urban planning and public health. Studies have noted that urban built environments have impacts on respiratory health by influencing air quality and human behavior such as physical activity. The aim of this paper was to explore the impact of urban built environments on respiratory health, taking chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as one of the typical respiratory diseases for study. A cross-sectional study was conducted including all cases (N = 1511) of death from COPD in the high-density Jing’an district of Shanghai from 2001 to 2010. Proxy variables were selected to measure modifiable features of urban built environments within this typical high-density district in Shanghai. A geographically weighted regression (GWR) model was used to explore the effects of the built environment on the mortality of COPD and the geographical variation in the effects. This study found that land use mix, building width-height ratio, frontal area density, and arterial road density were significantly correlated to the mortality of COPD in high-density urban area. By identifying built environment elements adjustable by urban planning and public policy, this study proposes corresponding environmental intervention for respiratory health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Urban Planning)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Associations of Walking Behavior with Neighborhood Environments by Different Life Stages: A Cross-Sectional Study in a Smaller Chinese City
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010237 - 28 Dec 2019
Abstract
Because of high population density and rapid urbanization, different human life stages have distinct growth experiences, leading to different lifestyles and age-spatial separation in the same neighborhood environment, particularly in smaller Chinese cities. The relationship of environment to physical activity may differ from [...] Read more.
Because of high population density and rapid urbanization, different human life stages have distinct growth experiences, leading to different lifestyles and age-spatial separation in the same neighborhood environment, particularly in smaller Chinese cities. The relationship of environment to physical activity may differ from western or larger Chinese cities. This study examined the associations of walking duration to the neighborhood environment and other factors, and explored the nuances of walking behavior for different life stages of adults in a smaller Chinese city, Yuncheng. An interviewer-administered questionnaire survey (n = 173) and face-to-face interviews (n = 19) were conducted in August 2017. Descriptive analysis and multiple linear regression were performed to describe walking motivations, sociodemographic characteristics, neighborhood environments, and their impacts on walking duration across three life stages. The quantitative findings were followed by interviews to validate and interpret them. Our results showed no positive associations of land-use mix (LUM) and residential density on walking duration, and even inverse associations of LUM-recreation and LUM-education for specific life stages were identified. Younger people’s walking behavior was more related to consumption amenities distinct from those of older people. Our findings suggest that using walkable neighborhood policies (e.g., high residential density and land-use mix) to increase physical activity might be ineffective in smaller Chinese cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Urban Planning)
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Open AccessArticle
The Anatomy of Health-Supportive Neighborhoods: A Multilevel Analysis of Built Environment, Perceived Disorder, Social Interaction and Mental Health in Beijing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010013 - 18 Dec 2019
Abstract
Mental health is an exceedingly prevalent concern for the urban population. Mounting evidence has confirmed the plausibility of high incidences of mental disorders in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. However, the association between the neighborhood built environment and individual mental health is understudied and far [...] Read more.
Mental health is an exceedingly prevalent concern for the urban population. Mounting evidence has confirmed the plausibility of high incidences of mental disorders in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. However, the association between the neighborhood built environment and individual mental health is understudied and far from conclusive, especially in developing countries such as China. The underlying mechanism requires in-depth analysis combining potential intermediates such as perceived environmental disorder and supportive social relationships. Using a health survey conducted in Beijing in 2017, this study investigates for the first time a socio-environmental pathway through which perceived disorder and social interaction account for the relationship between the built environment and mental health under the very notion of the neighborhood effect. The results from multilevel structural equation models indicate that individual mental health is influenced by the neighborhood-scale built environment through three pathways, independent of neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantages: (1) proximity to parks is the sole indicator directly linked to mental health; (2) population density, road connectivity and proximity to parks are indirectly associated with mental health through interactions with neighbors; and (3) population density, road connectivity and facility diversity are partially associated with perceived neighborhood disorder, which is indirectly correlated with mental health through interactions with neighbors. This study is a preliminary attempt to disentangle the complex relationships among the neighborhood environment, social interaction and mental health in the context of developing megacities. The relevant findings provide an important reference for urban planners and administrators regarding how to build health-supportive neighborhoods and healthy cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Urban Planning)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
The Association between Ground Floor Features and Public Open Space Face-To-Face Interactions: Evidence from Nantou Village, Shenzhen
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 4934; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244934 - 05 Dec 2019
Abstract
With face-to-face interaction proving beneficial for mental health, there is still a paucity of research on the correlation between ground floor features (GFFs), defined here as the features of the ground floor of buildings overlooking a street, and public open space face-to-face interaction [...] Read more.
With face-to-face interaction proving beneficial for mental health, there is still a paucity of research on the correlation between ground floor features (GFFs), defined here as the features of the ground floor of buildings overlooking a street, and public open space face-to-face interaction density (POSFTFID), defined as the density of human face-to-face interactions in the public open space (POS) adjacent to each building. Is there a correlation between GFFs and POSFTFID? This study aims to answer this question gaining empirical evidence from a Chinese village in the city (ViC). Behavioural mapping and statistical analysis were employed and the following GFFs were tested: Ground floor area, indoor visible space, presence of stairs, POS adjacent area, and land use. Results show an association between POSFTFID and: (1) The area of the POS adjacent to each building, (2) the degree of visibility (ratio of indoor visible space to total internal space) of the ground floor, (3) the presence of stairs. Moreover, food appears to be an important attribute fostering social interaction. Results can provide insights on future implications in urban design strategies and planning policies aiming at enhancing mental health conditions in contemporary cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Urban Planning)
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Open AccessArticle
Influences of Built Environment with Hilly Terrain on Physical Activity in Dalian, China: An Analysis of Mediation by Perceptions and Moderation by Social Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 4900; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244900 - 04 Dec 2019
Abstract
Neighborhood built environment may influence residents’ physical activity, but evidence of non-major Chinese cities is lacking. We investigated the impact of five socio-demographic characteristics, 10 objectively assessed environment characteristics, eight perceived neighborhood attributes, and social environment on physical activity and health outcomes (sense [...] Read more.
Neighborhood built environment may influence residents’ physical activity, but evidence of non-major Chinese cities is lacking. We investigated the impact of five socio-demographic characteristics, 10 objectively assessed environment characteristics, eight perceived neighborhood attributes, and social environment on physical activity and health outcomes (sense of community, body mass index, as well as self-reported health status). We also examined (1) five conceptually comparable perceived neighborhood attributes as mediators of the relationship between objective environment attributes and physical activity; (2) other perceived indicators and social environment as moderators of those relationships, using the mediation analysis in regression. Objectively assessed residential density, land use mix, street connectivity, and accessibility were curvilinearly and/or linearly related to physical activity. The slope of terrain was inversely associated with body mass index (BMI). None of the perceived attributes were found as mediators probably due to the weak associations between subjective and objective environments. High density facilitated physical activity but hindered the sense of community. Further, the perceived aesthetic and safety were associated with physical activity. Additionally, social environment moderated the positive associations of all perceived environments (except for slope) and sense of community. The present study demonstrated that both physical and social environment attributes significantly correlated with physical activity in Dalian. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Urban Planning)
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