William Eichler 05 April 2022

City planning should be based on ‘health first principle’

City planning should be based on ‘health first principle’  image
Image: zaeball/Shutterstock.com.

The UK’s planning system should be reformed to follow a ‘health first principle’, according to a new report.

Published by Key Cities, a national network representing 25 cities across the UK, The Healthy City makes the case for cities to be planned in a way that will support mental, physical and social health through reforms at both the local and national level.

The report cites growing evidence that the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age and the inequities in power, money and resources that influence these conditions, significantly impact their health.

In order to improve the conditions that shape people’s lives, Key Cities proposes the adoption of the ‘health first principle’. They argue this would require the creation of a National Vision and Planning Strategy and Place Frameworks where city authorities would embed everything known about health into plans, decision making and governance.

Cllr John Merry, chair of Key Cities and deputy leader of Salford City Council, said: ‘As the engine rooms for the UK’s post-pandemic recovery, the members of Key Cities – a network of 25 medium and small sized cities spread across England and Wales – are ideally placed to lead the transformation set out in our report. They are compact enough to be agile, but large enough to be able to make a difference.

‘It is a fundamental truth that our future health is reliant on the health of others and the health of our local and wider natural world and its ecosystems. By bringing an inspiring vision of the future of to the table, we can level up our cities with health at the fore. Ultimately, a healthier population will inspire innovation, bring communities closer and deliver better economic outcomes.’

As well as the adoption of the ‘health first principle’, the report recommends integrating nature with the built environment; creating at least 9m2 of green surface area per resident; and allowing communities to implement their own nature-based solutions.

Steve Hughes, associate economist at WPI Economics, commented: ‘Cities are the economic engines of the nation. But their continued growth and prosperity depends upon our urban areas evolving to overcome the numerous challenges that they face. The mental, physical and social health of city residents should be at the heart of this evolution.

‘Making cities more fun, more active, cleaner, less stressful and less lonely will mean a more innovative and productive population in every sector of the economy and in every community. National and local policymakers need to work together to turn the vision for the Healthy City into reality.’

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Roadworker Ganger (Civils)

City of York Council
£21,989 to £24,447
City of York Council are looking for a number of Roadworker Gangers to join its Highways Capital Projects Team. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Mental Health Recovery Worker

City of York Council
£22,374 to £24,875
We are looking for a motivated team player to join our team providing supported housing for adults with mental health needs York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Assistant Housing Policy Officer

City of York Council
£25,380 - £27,541
This post offers an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic individual to support the policy and strategy team. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Health, Safety & Wellbeing Advisor

Leicestershire County Council
Working for our traded service we work with clients in education, county, district and parish councils. Leicester, Leicestershire / Hybrid
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Social Worker

Leicestershire County Council
£25,932 - £36,231
Here at Leicestershire County Council, we now have exciting opportunities for both experienced and newly qualified Social Workers. Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicestershire County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.