Our Emerging Themes

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At this stage of development and upon the advice of engaged stakeholders, we are starting with three themes: Resilient and Equitable Cities in a Global Context, Built Environment and Health and Place Based Interventions.

Resilient and Equitable Cities in a Global Context: Cities face unparalleled challenges in the coming decade(s) in terms of emerging threats to health equity (climate change, environmental degradation, rising inequality, resource depletion, economic instability), but also significant new opportunities by virtue of the interconnectedness of individuals, organizations, communities and systems that also make cities engines of innovation and social change. Resilience can be thought of not only as the capacity to weather coming challenges, to bounce back from adversity, but also to learn from and embrace change and bounce forward into new ways of thinking and doing. Resilience is generally thought to be predicated on diversity, modularity, timely feedback, social capital, innovation, and redundancy. Planning for resilience must also be attentive to considerations of equity, both within cities and communities, and between regions in an increasingly interconnected planet.

Built Environment and Health: Built environment is a determinant of health for billions (we are now a primarily urban species). It is not just about buildings but also urban design issues such as sprawl, walkability, design features promoting sociability and social inclusion, access to services, green space and public transportation. The built environment impacts on health via social segregation, mental health, obesogenic environments, nature deficit, collisions, alcohol availability, food deserts, urban heat island effect, tree canopy, active transportation infrastructure, zoning, emissions controls, etc. Built environments in turn reflect uniqueness of place (topography, climate, etc), culture, politics & economy, social inequities.

Place Based Interventions: Broadly speaking, Place Based Interventions take advantage of location & (provide) local resources to promote positive social change. The particular outcomes or content of the interventions span the full set of social determinants of health (e.g., housing, education, food, (built) environment, etc). Place based interventions i) build on local strengths, ii) are solutions focussed, and iii) ideally evidence based and/or uses evaluation to guide implementation.

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