Healthy City Science: Citizens, Experts and Urban Governance

A special issue of Urban Science (ISSN 2413-8851).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2022) | Viewed by 37704

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Public Health & Department of City & Regional Planning, Director, Center for Global Healthy Cities, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Interests: urban health; healthy cities; community science; citizen science; health equity; climate change; violence; gun violence; environmental health; science policy; informal settlements; slums
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo 00800, Sri Lanka
Interests: urban health; systems science; health equity; clinical reasoning

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China
Interests: urban health and wellbeing; ecological and institutional economics of social and ecological system
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

More people are living in cities than at any other time in history, and there are both health advantages and risks from urbanization and urban life. While there is no one definition of a healthy city, we suggest that the 21st century challenges of rising economic inequality, increases in precarious work and living conditions, discrimination of the urban poor, climate change, drug-resistant infections, and the COVID-19 pandemic have all revealed that new and innovative approaches to cultivating healthy cities are needed. Importantly, 21st century healthy cities will need to take a systems approach, integrating people, technologies, and policies. This integrated approach will demand a new science for—and not just on—the city, but exactly what this will entail is still unclear. Methods from citizen science to urban health systems modeling may need to be integrated in new ways that also speak to urgent policy issues, such as adapting to the health and ecological impacts of climate change.

This Special Issue of Urban Science seeks papers that can help define the 21st century’s healthy and equitable city. This Special Issue seeks papers that address any number of the urban health science questions that can promote more healthy and equitable cities. We seek papers from practitioners, activists, and researchers, and are interested in descriptions of innovative practice and outcome-based studies. We are eager to include unrecognized voices and marginalized practices in urban sciences, including indigenous knowledge, community-based action research community mapping, and others. Fundamentally, we seek papers that aim to contribute to the new science for the healthy and equitable city and encourage submissions from small, medium, and mega city-regions around the world.

Prof. Jason Corburn
Prof. Saroj Jayasinghe
Prof. Dr. Franz W. Gatzweiler
Guest Editors

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. Urban Science is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly 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 1600 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

  • urban health
  • healthy cities
  • slums
  • community health
  • systems science

Published Papers (9 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

24 pages, 4366 KiB  
Article
Tensions and Invisible Costs in Co-Creating Nature-Based Health Knowledge in Brussels
by Sugirthini Selliah, Vitalija Povilaityte-Petri and Wendy Wuyts
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6040068 - 5 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1748
Abstract
The main purpose of this study was to provide a critique of the depoliticising funding call for co-creation research on urban resilience and sustainability while advocating that urban sustainability should remain political and require a political sphere. This study illustrated the invisible costs [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this study was to provide a critique of the depoliticising funding call for co-creation research on urban resilience and sustainability while advocating that urban sustainability should remain political and require a political sphere. This study illustrated the invisible costs of undertaking co-creation research and, more specifically, the power imbalance between different groups of co-researchers, which creates tensions. Our research on the case study of the Brussels Health Gardens (BHG) project illustrated how a policy instrument such as a funding call depoliticised urban sustainability and nature-based health knowledge and failed to integrate sufficient resources, such as the time needed to care for science, society, and the self. While previous research focused on successful applications across different scales and places, we illustrated the costs and tensions created by an application that was accepted and funded in the first stage and rejected in the second stage. Vulnerable groups, immigrants, and women tried to access the financial resources that were provided by a regional funding application to communicate nature-based health knowledge in their cities, neighbourhoods, and communities while working together with academic institutions. Two authors were involved in all phases of this project and contributed a collaborative autoethnography of the tensions that were experienced during the project co-creation and their perceived causes. The third author interviewed other co-researchers and focused on the tensions. Several tensions were linked with those observed in other co-creation research (inclusion versus control; impact versus solution; and the research topic of health, which is a boundary object), whereas some tensions were linked with the systems of Brussels (and beyond), ecological modernist priorities, and academic entrepreneurial system. The empirical data of both the lived experiences of the first and second authors, enriched with findings of interviews, contribute to the underexplored body of knowledge and critiques on the depoliticisation by ecological modernist research and policy priorities in Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy City Science: Citizens, Experts and Urban Governance)
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 3798 KiB  
Article
Urban Climate Justice, Human Health, and Citizen Science in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements
by Jason Corburn, Patrick Njoroge, Jane Weru and Maureen Musya
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6020036 - 31 May 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4032
Abstract
Urban informal settlements or slums are among the most vulnerable places to climate-change-related health risks. Yet, little data exist documenting environmental and human health vulnerabilities in slums or how to move research to action. Citizen science, where residents co-define research objectives with professionals, [...] Read more.
Urban informal settlements or slums are among the most vulnerable places to climate-change-related health risks. Yet, little data exist documenting environmental and human health vulnerabilities in slums or how to move research to action. Citizen science, where residents co-define research objectives with professionals, collect and analyze data, and help translate findings into ameliorative actions, can help fill data gaps and contribute to more locally relevant climate justice interventions. This paper highlights a citizen-science, climate justice planning process in the Mukuru informal settlement of Nairobi, Kenya. We describe how residents, non-governmental organizations and academics partnered to co-create data-gathering processes and generated evidence to inform an integrated, climate justice strategy called the Mukuru Special Planning Area, Integrated Development Plan. The citizen science processes revealed that <1% of residents had access to a private in-home toilet, and 37% lacked regular access to safe and affordable drinking water. We found that 42% of households were subject to regular flooding, 39% reported fair or poor health, and 40% reported a child in the household was stunted. These and other data were used in a community planning process where thousands of residents co-designed improvement and climate change adaptation strategies, such as flood mitigation, formalizing roads and pathways with drainage, and a water and sanitation infrastructure plan for all. We describe the participatory processes used by citizen scientists to generate data and move evidence into immediate actions to protect human health and a draft a long-range, climate justice strategy. The processes used to create the Mukuru Special Planning Area redevelopment plan suggest that participatory, citizen-led urban science can inform local efforts for health equity and global goals of climate justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy City Science: Citizens, Experts and Urban Governance)
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 2304 KiB  
Article
The Spatiality of COVID-19 in Kermanshah Metropolis, Iran
by Alireza Zanganeh, Komali Yenneti, Raziyeh Teimouri, Shahram Saeidi, Farid Najafi, Ebrahim Shakiba, Shahrzad Moghadam and Fatemeh Khosravi Shadmani
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(2), 30; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6020030 - 22 Apr 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2285
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic is a severe ongoing health crisisworldwide. Studying the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 can help policymakers develop successful pandemic management plans. This paper focuses on the spatial epidemiology of COVID-19 among different social classes in the Kermanshah metropolis, Iran. This cross-sectional [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a severe ongoing health crisisworldwide. Studying the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 can help policymakers develop successful pandemic management plans. This paper focuses on the spatial epidemiology of COVID-19 among different social classes in the Kermanshah metropolis, Iran. This cross-sectional study uses the data of people infected with COVID-19 in the Kermanshah metropolis in 2020, acquired from the official COVID-19 Registry of Kermanshah. The results show that 2013 people were infected with COVID-19 (male = 1164 and female = 849). The mean age of the patients was 45 ± 18.69. The Moran’s I show that COVID-19 in different social classes was clustered across the neighbourhoods in the Kermanshah metropolis. The mean ages of men and women were 44.51 ± 18.62 and 45.69 ± 18.76, respectively. Importantly, COVID-19 was highly prevalent in the middle-class groups. Age group comparisons indicate that older people were the most infected in poorer neighbourhoods. In the middle-classtheage group of 0–14 years and in the rich neighbourhoods the age group of 15–64 years were the most exposed to the disease. The findings of this study suggest that older people and lower socioeconomic classes should be prioritised while developing and implementing preventative programs for COVID-19 and similar pandemics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy City Science: Citizens, Experts and Urban Governance)
Show Figures

Figure 1

9 pages, 1169 KiB  
Article
Soundscape Assessment of Green and Blue Infrastructures
by Yalcin Yildirim, Merve Dilman, Volkan Muftuoglu and Sara Demir
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6010022 - 10 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2779
Abstract
Green and blue infrastructures provide economic, environmental, and social benefits to urban life. Various areas that are passing through such infrastructures have implications for those benefits. For instance, urban, rural, agricultural, and industrial zones extend the services and disservices of green and blue [...] Read more.
Green and blue infrastructures provide economic, environmental, and social benefits to urban life. Various areas that are passing through such infrastructures have implications for those benefits. For instance, urban, rural, agricultural, and industrial zones extend the services and disservices of green and blue infrastructures. Such extensions also have various implications on the environment and public health. Sound is one of those under-examined aspects of aggregated effects of green and blue infrastructures. This study aims to contribute to whether soundscape is affected by three pillars of urban, industrial, and rural areas among green and blue infrastructures. The study result shows no significant difference among those zones; however, urbanized areas include the highest sound levels. Industrial and rural zones show similar patterns. The study also identified that green infrastructure has more effects on the soundscape paradigm. The results also imply that green and blue infrastructures should be designated in harmony to produce a more sound-friendly environment considering the current major uses of the areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy City Science: Citizens, Experts and Urban Governance)
Show Figures

Figure 1

23 pages, 1773 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Association between Environmental Quality Characteristics and Mental Well-Being in Public Open Spaces
by Negin Karimi, Hassan Sajadzadeh and Farshid Aram
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6010020 - 9 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3403
Abstract
The issues related to the urban environment and mental well-being have become increasingly important in recent decades. Although this association has been mainly investigated in developed countries, there is limited knowledge on whether similar results can be acquired in the urban environments of [...] Read more.
The issues related to the urban environment and mental well-being have become increasingly important in recent decades. Although this association has been mainly investigated in developed countries, there is limited knowledge on whether similar results can be acquired in the urban environments of developing countries like Iran. This study intends to present a new dynamic and active approach to determine the environmental quality characteristics that influence the mental well-being of urban residents and to engage people to healthy urban public environments. In this respect, the research is directed by both qualitative and quantitative surveys in the public open spaces of Kermanshah, Iran. Firstly, the data are collected by Grounded Theory (GT) to identify significant environmental quality characteristics related to mental well-being by applying 24 semi-structured interviews. Secondly, the questionnaire survey based on Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) is applied to examine the association between each characteristic of the developed conceptual framework. The results reveal that the environmental quality characteristics of public open spaces, directly and indirectly, relate to users’ mental well-being. It should be noted that the public open spaces with unique functional and intrinsic features seem to have different impacts on mental well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy City Science: Citizens, Experts and Urban Governance)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 2429 KiB  
Article
The Art and Science of Urban Gun Violence Reduction: Evidence from the Advance Peace Program in Sacramento, California
by Jason Corburn, Yael Nidam and Amanda Fukutome-Lopez
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6010006 - 2 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5179
Abstract
Urban gun violence is a critical human health and social justice issue. Strategies to reduce urban gun violence are increasingly being taken out of the domain of police and into community-based programs. One such community-driven gun violence reduction program analyzed here is called [...] Read more.
Urban gun violence is a critical human health and social justice issue. Strategies to reduce urban gun violence are increasingly being taken out of the domain of police and into community-based programs. One such community-driven gun violence reduction program analyzed here is called Advance Peace. Advance Peace (AP) uses street outreach workers as violence interrupters and adult mentors to support the decision making and life chances of those at the center of urban gun violence. We reported on the impact Advance Peace had on gun violence and program participants in the City of Sacramento, California, from 2018–2019. Using an interrupted time series model, we attributed a gun violence reduction of 18% city wide and up to 29% in one of the AP target neighborhoods from the intervention. We also found that of the 50 participants in the Advance Peace Sacramento program 98% were alive, 90% did not have a new gun charge or arrest, 84% reported an improved outlook on life, all received cognitive behavioral therapy, and 98% reported that their AP outreach worker was one of the most important adults in their life. Advance Peace is a viable community-driven, urban gun violence, and healing-focused program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy City Science: Citizens, Experts and Urban Governance)
Show Figures

Figure 1

13 pages, 2813 KiB  
Article
Exposure of Malaysian Children to Air Pollutants over the School Day
by Eliani Ezani and Peter Brimblecombe
Urban Sci. 2022, 6(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci6010004 - 18 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4507
Abstract
Children are sensitive to air pollution and spend long hours in and around their schools, so the school day has an important impact on their overall exposure. This study of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and its surroundings assesses exposure to PM2.5 and NO [...] Read more.
Children are sensitive to air pollution and spend long hours in and around their schools, so the school day has an important impact on their overall exposure. This study of Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and its surroundings assesses exposure to PM2.5 and NO2, from travel, play and study over a typical school day. Most Malaysian children in urban areas are driven to school, so they probably experience peak NO2 concentrations in the drop-off and pick-up zones. Cyclists are likely to receive the greatest school travel exposure during their commute, but typically, the largest cumulative exposure occurs in classrooms through the long school day. Indoor concentrations tend to be high, as classrooms are well ventilated with ambient air. Exposure to PM2.5 is relatively evenly spread across Selangor, but NO2 exposure tends to be higher in areas with a high population density and heavy traffic. Despite this, ambient PM2.5 may be more critical and exceed guidelines as it is a particular problem during periods of widespread biomass burning. A thoughtful adjustment to school approach roads, design of playgrounds and building layout and maintenance may help minimise exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy City Science: Citizens, Experts and Urban Governance)
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 2453 KiB  
Article
Near-Collapse Buildings and Unsafe Sidewalks as Neglected Urban & Public Health Issue: A Qualitative Study
by Alexios-Fotios A. Mentis and Jannis S. Papadopulos
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(2), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci5020047 - 7 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4854
Abstract
Public health and city planning are highly interconnected; however, the nexus between the urban state of buildings and sidewalks and corresponding public and urban health issues is lacking in Greece. In a case study in Athens, Greece, we evaluated unsafe buildings, facades, balconies, [...] Read more.
Public health and city planning are highly interconnected; however, the nexus between the urban state of buildings and sidewalks and corresponding public and urban health issues is lacking in Greece. In a case study in Athens, Greece, we evaluated unsafe buildings, facades, balconies, and sidewalks during a 15-year follow-up. We manually inspected (a) if the building/location’s condition had worsened and (b) any effective intervention by the state. Of the 400 initially selected buildings, 251 nonoverlapping buildings were analyzed. Overall, ~20% of the buildings posed a subjectively perceived severe risk for collapse, 35% had near-to-fall objects, and 45% had other minor issues. Fifteen years later, ~85% of the buildings were at the same or higher risk of complete or partial fall, and in only 15% had the risk of collapse been reduced or removed by private or public intervention. We detected uneven and dangerous parts of sidewalks hindering walkability and increasing the risk of falling or tipping. Our assessment revealed that Athens’ historical center harbors plausible safety and health risks for pedestrians and dwellers due to entire or partial building collapse and poor-condition sidewalks, which can potentially act as stress factors. Collectively, the issue of near-collapse buildings and risky sidewalks as an urban health determinant appears neglected by municipal authorities in their urban planning priorities; thus, future studies are needed in the field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy City Science: Citizens, Experts and Urban Governance)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

20 pages, 1283 KiB  
Review
Resilient Urbanization: A Systematic Review on Urban Discourse in Pakistan
by Latif Abdul and Tao-fang Yu
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(4), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4040076 - 14 Dec 2020
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 7040
Abstract
Urbanization is a common phenomenon in the modern world. It has come with new challenges, especially for developing countries. Such countries, therefore, have to stay ahead in their preparedness efforts to meet these urban issues halfway. Unfortunately, urban residents in Pakistan are living [...] Read more.
Urbanization is a common phenomenon in the modern world. It has come with new challenges, especially for developing countries. Such countries, therefore, have to stay ahead in their preparedness efforts to meet these urban issues halfway. Unfortunately, urban residents in Pakistan are living in serious social, physical, and economic hardships. Despite being economic engines, cities in Pakistan suffer from stresses like climate change, haphazard and unregulated expansion, housing shortage, and a lack of basic civic amenities. While using systematic review methodology, we collected published and grey data from national and international sources. Literature shows that successive governments in Pakistan gave ample space to urban development in most of the policy documents. However, urban resilience and community engagement were given scant attention. This major gap, both in policy and practice, needs to be bridged to promote resilient and sustainable urbanization in Pakistan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy City Science: Citizens, Experts and Urban Governance)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop