Healthy urban planning

Nordic walking

Urbanization is a major public health challenge in the 21st century. For the first time in human history, the majority of the world’s population lives in cities. By 2030, it is estimated that about 60% of the world’s population will be urban dwellers, projected to rise to about 70% by 2050. Urbanization represents a great opportunity to improve people’s health, but also a complex challenge, especially in places where urbanization is outpacing the development of infrastructure, services, and other resources required to sufficiently meet the needs of the residents. Urban planning can play a role in making the impact of urbanization on health beneficial for people. Healthy urban planning is about creating healthy, equitable and sustainable cities.

In the area of healthy urban planning, WKC works to:

  • build evidence of the impact of urban planning on health equity;
  • adapt urban planning tools to promote health equity; and
  • document specific experiences of urban planning interventions aimed on health equity, and derive lessons for policy‐makers.


Best Practices:
Healthy Urban Planning in New York City

Well-planned cities can offer unique opportunities to positively influence people’s health. New York is one of the few cities in the world that has been successful in implementing healthy urban planning measures and in documenting its achievements in order to spread the strategies and lessons learned.

Walking to school in Japan and childhood obesity prevention: new lessons from an old policy

- Article published in the American Journal of Public Health, November 2012: Health and Wellness Across the Lifespan

Contact us

World Health Organization Centre for Health Development
1-5-1 Wakinohama-Kaigandori
Chuo-ku, Kobe 651-0073
Telephone: (+81) 78-230-3100
Fax: (+81) 78-230-3178