Urban planning, environment and health: from evidence to policy action



Meeting report, 2010


Environmental conditions of urban settings are a major issue both for individual residents and for local and national governments. However, little is known on the practical mechanisms and local restrictions in ensuring adequate environmental conditions in cities.

This report presents the results of an expert meeting to develop policy advice on urban planning, environment and health, convened in the context of a larger project co-funded by DG Sanco (grant agreement 2006WHO01, “Enhanced policy advice on environment and health in Europe”). This project included a work package on environmental health challenges in urban planning which had the objective to review – based on contributions from scientific experts and urban planners and practitioners – the impact and effectiveness of current regulatory frameworks and European Directives that affect urban planning and urban environmental conditions. The perspective of local authorities as the implementer of urban planning was used for the discussion and case studies on environmental health dimensions of urban planning were prepared by two cities.

This meeting report provides (a) the summary notes of an expert meeting held in fall 2008, (b) an evidence review on the urban planning impacts on environment and health, and (c) summary reports of two case study cities on their local priority challenges.

In conclusion, the challenges faced by local authorities in daily urban planning practice are highlighted and associated with the regulatory frameworks on international level. Various suggestions are being made to equip local authorities with better frameworks and resources to make urban settings healthier.