Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, our increasingly urban world has seen significant improvements in indicators of health and life expectancy. However there are marked geo-spatial, socio-economic and socio-cultural differences in rates of communicable and non-communicable diseases and premature mortality. In all countries, rich and poor, there is an unequal distribution of health both within countries (the urban-rural divide) and within cities (the social gradient).
Urban management is a pressing health issue for countries and cities at all stages of economic development–following the projected trajectory of urban growth, city populations in all countries will age, the triple threat of communicable and non-communicable diseases, and accidents, injuries, road accidents, violence and crime will grow, there will be more urban sprawl and greater numbers of people living in poverty, slums and squatter settlements.
This paper presents the findings from the Global Research Network on Urban Health Equity (GRNUHE) established by the Rockefeller Foundation to bring to the forefront the evidence and argument for urgent action in key societal and environmental factors—governance, urban design, social infrastructure and climate change—done in such a way as to improve the health premium from urbanisation and ensure its fair distribution.
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