Article

Urban Health

Nicholas Freudenberg

in Public Health

ISBN: 9780199756797
Published online February 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0128
Urban Health

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In the early 21st century, city living is the norm for an ever-growing proportion of the world’s population. By 2007 half the world’s population lived in cities, and by 2030 more than three-quarters will live in urban areas. In the 19th and 20th centuries urbanization reshaped the world, and no human trend has had a more profound influence on health. Compared to nonurban areas, cities are characterized by population density and diversity, complexity, income inequality, and a rich array of formal and informal organizations. Each of these characteristics has positive and negative effects on well-being, making it difficult for researchers and policy makers to make clear recommendations for improving the health of urban populations. Increasingly the world’s urban population is concentrated in Africa, Latin America, and Asia, where high levels of poverty worsen the health impact of urbanization. As cities become the dominant form of living, their influence spreads to rural and suburban areas, emphasizing the importance of creating healthier urban physical and social environments. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, research on urban health extended beyond comparing the health status of urban and rural populations to assessing the health consequences of varying urban environments, understanding the causes of and solutions to growing geographic and socioeconomic health inequities within cities in developing and developed nations, and evaluating the impact of multilevel and intersectoral initiatives to improve urban health.

Article.  7182 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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