Phases of the Network

John Ashton

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.