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Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Health, Well-Being and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2023) | Viewed by 22196

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Geneva School of Social Sciences, University of Geneva, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland
Interests: healthy cities; housing, building and planning; human ecology; global sustainability; planetary health; transdisciplinarity; urban health challenges and responses

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue addresses global concerns about our habitat and our health in an urbanizing world of constant change. Cities and urban development are complex, dynamic and systemic phenomena, the positive and negative consequences of which are addressed in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The ways in which components of urban ecosystems influence health are a shared concern of researchers and practitioners in a variety of disciplines and professions within and beyond the health sciences and medical fields. Narrow cause/effect analyses that ignore multiple variables of urban environments are unlikely to achieve sustainable improvements for population health.

Notably, conventional sector-based contributions about the behavioural, environmental, economic, and social impacts of urban projects and policies should be extended to consider impacts on community health and well-being. Ecological public health, One health and planetary health can serve as overarching frameworks for research and practice that promotes and sustains health in a world of rapid urbanization and unpredictable change. Behavioural, environmental, economic, political and social variables must be interpreted in the context of global, regional and local socio-ecological systems; both individual and community health depend on the sustained functioning of these interrelated systems. This global, integrated framework is pertinent to the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets. It can facilitate improvements in the health of urban populations while enabling other sustainability goals and targets. This Special Issue underscores that the interrelations between SDG 3 “Good Health and Well-being” and SDG 11 “Sustainable Cities and Communities” should be clearly identified and then synergies between them should be valued by collective action. The ongoing implementation of the SDG framework, in tandem with the New Urban Agenda, will require and benefit from transdisciplinary collaboration between researchers, professionals, politicians, and citizens that coproduce innovative urban research and project implementation about food, housing, transport and other topics in cities North and South of the Equator.

For this Special Issue, original research articles and innovative project results related to the ongoing implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and particularly the interconnections between SDG3 and SDG11, are welcome. Subjects may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Active living for health promotion.
  • Co-benefits of sustainable housing, building and land-use planning.
  • Health promotion in communities, cities and mega-urban regions.
  • Implementing the New Urban Agenda.
  • Integrating health promotion into urban policies and planning.
  • Interdisciplinary and inter-sector collaboration in urban planning.
  • Mobility, transport and population health.
  • Nature-based project benefits for health and well-being.
  • Public policies for promoting and sustaining urban health.
  • Reducing inequity and health inequalities in cities.
  • Responsible behaviours of individuals and groups for planetary health.
  • Implementing SDG 3 and SDG11.
  • The residential context of health.
  • Transdisciplinary urban projects.
  • Urban agriculture and local food systems.
  • Urban governance for health and well-being.
  • Urban redevelopment projects for health and sustainability.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) Healthy Cities projects.

If you are interested in contributing to this global publication about progress in implementing healthy and sustainable urban development, your contribution can be submitted for peer review until 1 December 2022.

Prof. Dr. Roderick J. Lawrence
Guest Editor

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Sustainability 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 2400 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

  • ecological public health
  • healthy cities
  • housing and health
  • interdisciplinary research
  • interventions for health promotion
  • sustainable development goals (SDG3 and SDG11)
  • one health
  • planetary health
  • systemic thinking
  • transdisciplinary projects
  • urban health challenges

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

13 pages, 781 KiB  
Editorial
Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses
by Roderick J. Lawrence
Sustainability 2023, 15(17), 12837; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151712837 - 24 Aug 2023
Viewed by 897
Abstract
We live in a rapidly urbanizing world [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
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Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

20 pages, 11200 KiB  
Article
Developing Place-Based Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study of Taipei City’s Jiuzhuang Community Garden
by Liling Huang
Sustainability 2023, 15(16), 12422; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151612422 - 16 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1125
Abstract
This article considers the development process of Jiuzhuang Community Garden in Taipei City to analyze the practice of community gardens and their relevance to urban health and human well-being. Previous studies have highlighted the contributions of community gardens in areas such as food [...] Read more.
This article considers the development process of Jiuzhuang Community Garden in Taipei City to analyze the practice of community gardens and their relevance to urban health and human well-being. Previous studies have highlighted the contributions of community gardens in areas such as food supply, climate adaptation, local culture, and social interaction. Using qualitative methods, such as participatory observation, focus group discussions, and semi-structured interviews, this study demonstrates the co-beneficial relationships between various factors and the synergetic effects they bring to physical and mental health. By adopting a perspective that incorporates social infrastructure and the Satoyama Initiative, this research interprets how community gardens can support and develop place-based health concepts and respond to urban complexity. It demonstrates the pathway to enhancing urban health through interventions in urban spaces, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the examination of a community garden case, this study explores the potential connections between SDG 3 and SDG 11, emphasizing the role of green space provision, place identity, and participatory management in enhancing physical and mental well-being. This study also indicates the necessity of integrating the perspectives of public health and urban planning in addressing urban health issues. This integration is essential to shift away from a disease- and mortality-centered approach and towards a health paradigm centered on lifestyle and social interactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
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26 pages, 3161 KiB  
Article
Promoting Urban Health through the Green Building Movement in Vietnam: An Intersectoral Perspective
by Thuy Thi Thu Nguyen and Michael Waibel
Sustainability 2023, 15(13), 10296; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151310296 - 29 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1514
Abstract
The health of urban citizens is largely defined by how their living environments are planned, built, and operated, but scientific and policy discourse about sustainable building has often ignored this. Furthermore, while the complex relations between health and the characteristics of built environments [...] Read more.
The health of urban citizens is largely defined by how their living environments are planned, built, and operated, but scientific and policy discourse about sustainable building has often ignored this. Furthermore, while the complex relations between health and the characteristics of built environments require system-orientated thinking and interdisciplinary interventions, they have—until recently—mainly been addressed with conventionally narrow sector-based (mostly technocratic) approaches (e.g., in regard to energy efficiency or carbon reduction). This paper, however, investigates how health co-benefits are perceived by stakeholders in the field of sustainable building in Vietnam. It examines empirical insights collected from a large-scale household survey—with a focus on a green building-certified project case study—conducted in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, six thematic webinars, and eleven expert interviews. Among other things, the paper points out a challenging mismatch between the high importance homebuyers place on green building health benefits, and the focus of stakeholders on energy-saving benefits, which are not necessarily the homebuyers’ most pressing concerns. Therefore, the paper concludes that improved health and well-being should be more strongly considered as co-benefits of green buildings. Equally important is that this paper also brings attention to the essential systemic approach in both academic and practical efforts toward the implementation of the SDG3, to “ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all ages”, and SDG 11, “to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
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19 pages, 763 KiB  
Article
Health Impact Assessment to Promote Urban Health: A Trans-Disciplinary Case Study in Strasbourg, France
by Guilhem Dardier, Derek P. T. H. Christie, Jean Simos, Anne Roué Le Gall, Nicola L. Cantoreggi, Lorris Tabbone, Yoann Mallet and Françoise Jabot
Sustainability 2023, 15(10), 8013; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15108013 - 15 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1364
Abstract
Health Impact Assessment (HIA), an inherently trans-disciplinary approach, is used to help evaluate and improve projects or programmes in sectors such as transportation, where new infrastructure is likely to have effects on health. This article describes the screening, scoping, appraisal, and recommendation steps [...] Read more.
Health Impact Assessment (HIA), an inherently trans-disciplinary approach, is used to help evaluate and improve projects or programmes in sectors such as transportation, where new infrastructure is likely to have effects on health. This article describes the screening, scoping, appraisal, and recommendation steps of an HIA on a new 24 km highway around the conurbation of Strasbourg, France. Methods included a literature review and quantitative estimates of the health effects of air pollution and noise. Although planned, interviews and focus groups proved impossible due to political and administrative difficulties. In replacement, answers to a related public inquiry were submitted to a secondary, thematic analysis. The new infrastructure is likely to create or help maintain some jobs in the short term and might accelerate certain journeys, but it does not seem able to improve local mobility and air quality issues. It crystallises the dissatisfaction of a part of the local population and raises the question of the transparency of the design and validation processes of major infrastructure projects. Despite an unfavourable political context, the HIA approach described in this article was able to overcome methodological difficulties and obstacles thanks to creative research methods and trans-disciplinarity to finally yield relevant information and suggestions for urban health promotion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
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16 pages, 1088 KiB  
Article
Sustainability and Equity in Urban Development (S&EUD): A Content Analysis of “Bright Spots” from the Accelerating City Equity (ACE) Project
by Nishita Dsouza, Anitha Devadason, Araliya M. Senerat, Patrin Watanatada, David Rojas-Rueda and Giselle Sebag
Sustainability 2023, 15(9), 7318; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15097318 - 28 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2713
Abstract
Sustainable and equitable urban development (S&EUD) is vital to promote healthy lives and well-being for all ages. Recognizing equity as core to urban development is essential to ensure that cities are inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. The aim of this study was to [...] Read more.
Sustainable and equitable urban development (S&EUD) is vital to promote healthy lives and well-being for all ages. Recognizing equity as core to urban development is essential to ensure that cities are inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. The aim of this study was to identify and assess the elements of equity and sustainability in exemplary bright spots using the ACE Framework and the United Nations’ 5 Ps of Sustainable Development. A content analysis process was performed to identify initial case studies, obtain bright spot information, and select final case studies. The exemplary bright spots selected were assessed for drivers of equity and the five pillars of sustainability. Results showed that equity and sustainability have become key considerations in urban development work. Numerous effective strategies and outcomes identified in the exemplary bright spots could be replicated in other contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
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20 pages, 1698 KiB  
Article
Testing Food Waste Reduction Targets: Integrating Transition Scenarios with Macro-Valuation in an Urban Living Lab
by Daniel Black, Taoyuan Wei, Eleanor Eaton, Alistair Hunt, Joy Carey, Ulrich Schmutz, Bingzi He and Ian Roderick
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 6004; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15076004 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1701
Abstract
Bristol, one of the United Kingdom’s (UK) nine Core Cities, is seeking to achieve Zero Waste City status by 2049. This study combines macro-economic valuation with transition pathway mapping and adapted participatory scenario planning to stress test the city’s ambitious food waste targets. [...] Read more.
Bristol, one of the United Kingdom’s (UK) nine Core Cities, is seeking to achieve Zero Waste City status by 2049. This study combines macro-economic valuation with transition pathway mapping and adapted participatory scenario planning to stress test the city’s ambitious food waste targets. The primary aim is to enable better understanding of who might be affected by achieving these targets, both locally and nationally, the potential scale of impacts, and therefore the potential barriers and policy opportunities. The valuation focuses on household and commercial food waste, combining available site and city data with national level proxies. Impact areas include changes in sectoral income, employee income, capital owner income, tax revenue, and carbon emissions. Four scenarios, based on two extreme cases, are modelled to consider food waste reduction and potential shifts in consumption patterns. Results indicate that current market and governance failures incentivise waste, and suggest potential routes to transition, including trade-offs and resource reallocation, alongside the need to acknowledge and respond to these profound structural barriers. With further development and testing, the approach may contribute to a better understanding of how to achieve city socioenvironmental targets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
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20 pages, 2626 KiB  
Article
Comparing Societal Impact Planning and Evaluation Approaches across Four Urban Living Labs (in Food-Energy-Water Systems)
by Daniel Black, Susanne Charlesworth, Maria Ester Dal Poz, Erika Cristina Francisco, Adina Paytan, Ian Roderick, Timo von Wirth and Kevin Winter
Sustainability 2023, 15(6), 5387; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15065387 - 17 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1554
Abstract
Achieving societal impact, as opposed to academic impact, is a growing area of focus for the research community globally. Central to this changing mission is the focus on multiple interconnected complex systems and the need for research that is not just interdisciplinary, but [...] Read more.
Achieving societal impact, as opposed to academic impact, is a growing area of focus for the research community globally. Central to this changing mission is the focus on multiple interconnected complex systems and the need for research that is not just interdisciplinary, but also transdisciplinary and grounded in stakeholder co-production. This document compares multiple approaches to impact planning and evaluation across four newly formed urban living labs in Sao Paolo (Brazil), Western Cape (South Africa), Bristol (UK) and Rotterdam (Netherlands), each of which sought to address societal issues linked to the food-energy-water nexus. A comparison matrix and a disaggregated impact table are derived from a comprehensive review of key definitions. These new tools were completed by each ULL alongside a post hoc pathway to impact statements. Comparisons are presented and discussed, the strengths and weaknesses of this approach are considered and opportunities for improvement in societal impact planning and evaluation are provided. Our main findings include the importance of establishing clear shared definitions while accepting plural understandings, the need to acknowledge resource as a critical factor in impact delivery and the headline need for far greater focus in this area from both funders and research groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
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16 pages, 710 KiB  
Article
Policymaker and Practitioner Perceptions of Parks for Health and Wellbeing: Scoping a Holistic Approach
by Brenda B. Lin, Susan Thompson, Richard Mitchell, Thomas Astell-Burt, Evelyne De Leeuw, Bin Jalaludin and Xiaoqi Feng
Sustainability 2023, 15(6), 5251; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15065251 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1498
Abstract
Urban parks provide a multitude of health benefits for citizens navigating the challenges of 21st-century living. And while this is well known by both scholars and practitioners, there is less understanding about the differential impacts of park size, type of facilities, community accessibility, [...] Read more.
Urban parks provide a multitude of health benefits for citizens navigating the challenges of 21st-century living. And while this is well known by both scholars and practitioners, there is less understanding about the differential impacts of park size, type of facilities, community accessibility, and management. This is the central concern of the research reported here, which is a part of a larger project titled ‘Better Parks, Healthier for All?’ funded under the UKRI-NHMRC Built Environment and Prevention Research Scheme 2019. Within this broader context, the current paper discusses the results of a focus group to better understand how different park qualities promote physical and mental health. Using a COVID-safe research approach, we brought key park providers, park policymakers, and green and open space designers from New South Wales, Australia, together to participate in an online focus group in May 2021. The recruitment was based on the domain expertise and practitioner knowledge of the issues at hand. The ensuing discussion canvassed three areas of interest: What is park quality? How is park quality associated with health? How can we assess park quality and its ability to deliver health outcomes? A thematic analysis of the group’s deliberations reveals a very holistic appreciation of park quality. The ability of a park network to provide a range of health outcomes is central to this view, with each park playing a role in delivering different benefits across the network. Our findings indicate that there are many opportunities to enhance the myriad of benefits and multiple ways to gain them. Co-design is essential to ensure that parks best suit the local context and provide relevant benefits to all stakeholders. In this way, local communities can gain ownership and enhanced agency in relation to using and enjoying their parks. We conclude that delivering locally networked parks and associated spaces for community health and wellbeing are essential in the broader context of global environmental sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
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16 pages, 274 KiB  
Article
The Analysis of the Context of Digital Access to Healthcare in Russia
by Nikita V. Polukhin, Tamara R. Nikolic Turnic, Natalia V. Ekkert, Vladimir A. Reshetnikov, Valery V. Royuk, Vera R. Shastina and Mikhail V. Vodolagin
Sustainability 2023, 15(3), 2271; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15032271 - 26 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1645
Abstract
Digital accessibility is one of the key principles of modern healthcare. The Internet has become a main tool to both communicate and engage patients. This study aims to analyze adults’ preferences on health information resources and the utilization of digital healthcare tools in [...] Read more.
Digital accessibility is one of the key principles of modern healthcare. The Internet has become a main tool to both communicate and engage patients. This study aims to analyze adults’ preferences on health information resources and the utilization of digital healthcare tools in Russia. The data were collected from the online survey conducted in August-September 2020. The association of factors with individual preferences was analyzed using Pearson’s χ2 with Holm–Bonferroni correction. The sample included 1319 respondents’ submissions. The most prioritized activity on the Internet among all the respondents was social media 64.1% (95% CI 61.4–66.6%). Females, those who are more educated, and more active Internet users were more likely to use all available sources to gather health information. Almost one-half of the respondents (48.0%; 95% CI 45.3–50.7%) reported that they did not use any digital tools to manage their medical appointments. Smartphones were more likely to be used by younger and more active Internet users, while personal computers were prioritized as the preferable device to access the Internet by males and older adults. The study revealed that both public health authorities and health providers must provide a wider range of information and digital interaction experiences appropriate to the needs and preferences of patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
19 pages, 1567 KiB  
Article
Unmet Needs and Resilience: The Case of Vulnerable and Marginalized Populations in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements
by Ivy Chumo, Caroline Kabaria, Alex Shankland and Blessing Mberu
Sustainability 2023, 15(1), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15010037 - 20 Dec 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2240
Abstract
Catalyzing change and promoting sustainable cities in informal settlements and their residents requires an understanding of unmet needs and resilience among marginalized and vulnerable groups (MVGs). This is because needs identified on behalf of MVGs as “unmet” are sometimes not perceived as unmet, [...] Read more.
Catalyzing change and promoting sustainable cities in informal settlements and their residents requires an understanding of unmet needs and resilience among marginalized and vulnerable groups (MVGs). This is because needs identified on behalf of MVGs as “unmet” are sometimes not perceived as unmet, or even “meetable”, and resilience strategies from above are often perceived as unsuitable by the MVGs. To the best of our knowledge, no study has used governance diaries to identify the unmet needs and resilience strategies of MVGs from their perspectives. As such, this study explored the unmet needs and resilience strategies of MVGs in informal settlements using governance diaries. This was a qualitative study using governance diaries with 24 participants from two informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya. We used Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for the framework analysis. We identified unmet needs related to physiology, safety, love and belonging, and self-esteem, in the order of the hierarchy. MVGs did not need the full satisfaction of a lower need to yearn for a higher one, and continue living despite their unmet needs. However, there were no self-actualization needs as the participants could not satisfy the lower level needs. The urban paradox reminds us that cities are not always beneficial for all. There is a continued need for holistic approaches to uncover the often hidden resilience strategies for achieving unmet needs. Our study identified behavioural and cognitive resilience strategies. As such, actors need to embrace and build on local resilience strategies in efforts to address the unmet needs of MVGs in pursuit of inclusive urbanization in Africa. The identification of unmet needs and resilience strategies adds to the literature, policy and practice on how and why residents and MVGs continue working and living in informal settlements despite a lack of or inadequate basic amenities. Our study findings imply that actors in informal settlements need to build on and re-build local resilience strategies in pursuit of inclusive and liveable urbanization in Africa, as unmet needs tend to increase with worsened marginality and vulnerability status. Beyond the resilience strategies adopted by MVGs, governments, service providers and caregivers should take more useful actions to prevent or reduce unmet needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
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14 pages, 291 KiB  
Article
Health and Environmental Co-Benefits of City Urban Form in Latin America: An Ecological Study
by Ione Avila-Palencia, Brisa N. Sánchez, Daniel A. Rodríguez, Carolina Perez-Ferrer, J. Jaime Miranda, Nelson Gouveia, Usama Bilal, Andrés F. Useche, Maria A. Wilches-Mogollon, Kari Moore, Olga L. Sarmiento and Ana V. Diez Roux
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 14715; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142214715 - 08 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2368
Abstract
We investigated the association of urban landscape profiles with health and environmental outcomes, and whether those profiles are linked to environmental and health co-benefits. In this ecological study, we used data from 208 cities in 8 Latin American countries of the SALud URBana [...] Read more.
We investigated the association of urban landscape profiles with health and environmental outcomes, and whether those profiles are linked to environmental and health co-benefits. In this ecological study, we used data from 208 cities in 8 Latin American countries of the SALud URBana en América Latina (SALURBAL) project. Four urban landscape profiles were defined with metrics for the fragmentation, isolation, and shape of patches (contiguous area of urban development). Four environmental measures (lack of greenness, PM2.5, NO2, and carbon footprint), two cause-specific mortality rates (non-communicable diseases and unintentional injury mortality), and prevalence of three risk factors (hypertension, diabetes, and obesity) for adults were used as the main outcomes. We used linear regression models to evaluate the association of urban landscape profiles with environmental and health outcomes. In addition, we used finite mixture modeling to create co-benefit classes. Cities with the scattered pixels profile (low fragmentation, high isolation, and compact shaped patches) were most likely to have positive co-benefits. Profiles described as proximate stones (moderate fragmentation, moderate isolation, and irregular shape) and proximate inkblots (moderate-high fragmentation, moderate isolation, and complex shape) were most likely to have negative co-benefits. The contiguous large inkblots profile (low fragmentation, low isolation, and complex shape) was most likely to have mixed benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)

Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

15 pages, 571 KiB  
Review
Conceptual Approaches of Health and Wellbeing at the Apartment Building Scale: A Review of Australian Studies
by Tamara Al-Obaidi, Jason Prior and Erica McIntyre
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 15536; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142315536 - 22 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1581
Abstract
The complexity of environmental challenges facing populations are pushing researchers to go beyond traditional study designs alone to investigate health within the urban environment using integrated coupled human-environment systems thinking. As high-density apartment living is increasing in Australia, it is important to understand [...] Read more.
The complexity of environmental challenges facing populations are pushing researchers to go beyond traditional study designs alone to investigate health within the urban environment using integrated coupled human-environment systems thinking. As high-density apartment living is increasing in Australia, it is important to understand the conceptual frameworks guiding research at this scale in Australia; therefore, this article provides a systematic search and review of residents-based studies exploring whether they conceptualised their approach to health using ecological systems thinking at the building scale. Residents-based research published in English between January 2011 and June 2021 was searched across six databases, with 1265 articles identified and six articles included for review. Findings demonstrate a lack of study designs that use systemic and integrated thinking. More specifically, complex systems thinking of health and the urban environment with coupled human-environment views are not fully grasped or reflected in current study designs. This gap is further complicated by a lack of explicit definition and conceptualisation of health and wellbeing and a diverse approach to their use. Future research should consider adopting relational and integrated thinking of health drivers along with an ecological perspective to address residents’ multiple challenges and implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Promoting and Sustaining Urban Health: Challenges and Responses)
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