Urban planning is related to health in many ways. From the house we live, to the pavement we walk in, our health is affected almost on a daily basis. The place or city we live in and the facilities they offer in healthcare are also important in determining our healthy lifestyles. For instance, cities that have more parks and public spaces score higher on the liveability scales compared to cities that are poor in encouraging movement or walking.
Here are some tips on how to promote a healthy lifestyle in cities:
1) Provide well-built structures: Having good housing and transport is a start to creating more healthy neighborhoods. For instance, poor housing creates a lot of problems and was one of the main reasons for typhoid growth in the industrial age in the UK. Now, with nuclear families, more people are building independent homes and live in apartments that offer better facilities compared to the industrial age. Providing good busses or transport where citizens follow strict rules about hygiene, as transport is one of the most common contact-zone in cities, is also important to ensure the health of all citizens.
2) Provide public parks: Having good public spaces where everyone can maintain their daily walk or seek respite is also important. Having neighborhood parks is also a bonus. For instance, New York City is well known for its parks where people walk on a daily basis. Although most park these days have surveillance cameras because of illegal use, they are all mostly safe on the day-times. In India, cities such as Bangalore, offer parks in nearly all neighborhood which has a good footfall on a regular basis. People have already understood the importance of such public spaces, which contributes to a lot of people using the parks and amenities the cities offer.
3) Provide good health facilities: Having good doctors and hospitals also contribute to health and lifestyle. Most countries do not provide free healthcare and countries such as the USA are still battling against good health facilities. This is one of the main reasons for poor health as many citizens cannot afford good health care, even in India. Some hospitals are also badly managed and unclean, leading to more diseases and infections. It is still a far-reaching goal to provide health care for all citizens. As doctors are an important asset to our health, we need to make sure our cities have the best doctors available.
4) Combat pollution: In 2017, New Delhi was under threat as the most polluted city in the world where many people were under masks to save their health. Although the government took safety measures regarding this, pollution and carbon emissions is still a major issue in cities worldwide. We need better alternatives and need strict measures which can tackle such issues if we need to live a healthy lifestyle. Reducing gas emissions from factories and transport can be a major measure against pollution.
5) Promote hygiene and good health: Many people do not have knowledge about the ways in which hygiene in their daily life can affect their health. Such as having a clean house, or living in a clean neighborhood can drastically impact our health even if we do not realize it. Having clean pavements to walk in can also be improved and initiated. As people are becoming more aware of their health, their habits and the impacts cities have on their health including the other people surrounding them, they will learn to be clean. As cities become more strict in cleanliness, including planting more trees and promoting healthy lifestyles, we will all benefit from it whether we realize it consciously or not.
The above are important measures in which our municipalities and government can take in improving our cities to create a better lifestyle for our people, who are the most important agents in cities! As cities need to be built for people rather than traffic, health is one of the most important aspects which makes people alive. This needs to be emphasized and tackled. Some of the best cities to live in provide the most healthy lifestyles for people, which can be read in the liveability ranking of cities. Therefore, think twice before dirtying your streets!