Health effects of urban environments

Health challenges in the urban environment relate to noise and air pollution, lack of green spaces, inadequate transport and reduced opportunities for physical activity. WHO efforts aim at better understanding the relationship between environmental health and urban living conditions, to provide Member States with evidence-based advice and practical mechanisms that ensure adequate conditions.

WHO/Europe has developed a set of indicators to assess the environment and health conditions and impacts of urban planning and design. These indicators can help local authorities in urban planning.

Current work on urban and residential environments includes a study on how residential settings affect levels of physical activity and an assessment of the effects on health and wellbeing of urban interventions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.