Phases of the Network
30 years of changing cities to change the world
The network’s activities have been organized into phases of roughly 5 years, with differing priorities. For example, phase III (1998–2002) focussed on the social determinants of health, whereas phase IV (2003–2008) had a special emphasis on healthy ageing. The member cities can vary from phase to phase.
When a city joins the network they commit to delivering materials, data and stories, all of which form a body of evidence that they are making a difference in putting health high on social and political agendas. Healthy City coordinators, their teams and local political leadership report annually on the state of their city through annual reporting templates.
The phases have served as a process and a platform for inspiration, learning and the accumulation of practical experience on how to improve health and well-being.
Phase VI: 2014–2018
The influence of Health 2020, WHO/Europe’s overarching policy framework, gained traction in the Healthy Cities movement. This gives priority to life course approaches in city policies and plans, with a focus on: early child development; ageing and vulnerability; tackling major public health challenges such as physical inactivity, obesity, tobacco, alcohol and mental health difficulties; strengthening people-centred health systems; and fostering resilient communities.
Phase V: 2009–2013
Priority was given to health and health equity in all policies, which, as in other phases, recognizes that population health is largely determined by policies and actions outside the health sector. The phase was built on previous city health development planning and focussed on 3 core themes: caring and supportive environments, healthy living and healthy urban design.
Phase IV: 2003–2008
Participation in phase IV required an overall commitment to health development with an emphasis on equity, tackling the determinants of health, sustainable development, and participatory and democratic governance. Cities committed to working on healthy ageing, healthy urban planning, healthy impact assessment and active living.
Phase III: 1998–2002
This phase marked the transition from health promotion to integrated city health development plans. Cities created partnership-based policies, with a strong emphasis on equity, the social determinants of health, community development and regeneration initiatives. Cities were required to take systematic approaches to monitoring and evaluation.
Phase II: 1993–1997
Cities advanced the healthy cities approach by developing healthy public policies and drawing up comprehensive city health plans focussing on equity and sustainable development.
Phase I: 1988–1992
This early phase focussed on setting up structures, such as the national networks which could be used as a platform for change.