Social determinants of health


Park in Guarulhos where people come to exercise. Guarulhos, Brazil.
WHO /Anna Kari

The Urban Settings Knowledge Network focused on broad policy interventions related to "healthy urbanization", and closely examined slum upgrading as an entry point among other possible interventions. The upstream determinants of healthy urbanization include: stimulation of job creation, land tenure and land use policy, transportation, sustainable urban development, social protection, settlement policies and strategies, community empowerment, vulnerability reduction and better security among others.

Organizational hub:

WHO Centre for Health Development in Kobe, Japan, was selected as the hub to manage the Knowledge Network on Urban Settings of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. It focused on synthesizing global knowledge on social determinants of health and urbanization. Hub leader - Dr Susy Mercado, contact person - Susan Loo.

Key publications

Final report of the Urban Settings Knowledge Network - Our cities, our health, our future: acting on social determinants for health equity in urban settings

Cover image

The key to improved health equity lies in optimizing urban settings for health. Urbanization can be a positive determinant of health in the appropriate circumstances. This KNUS report summarizes the findings concerning structural and intermediate social determinants of health that are of importance in the urban setting.

A billion voices: listening and responding to the health needs of slum dwellers and informal settlers

Paper by WHO Kobe Centre: a close look at urban slums, poverty and ill-health in the 21st century, reviewing evidence, exploring opportunities for synergy, positioning for action.

Fact file: urban settings as a social determinant of health

In Nairobi, where 60% of the city’s population lives in slums, child mortality in the slums is 2.5 times greater than in other areas of the city.

More publications