Urban and Transport Planning, Environment and Health
The world is currently witnessing its largest urban growth in human history. Over 50% of people worldwide live in cities and this figure is estimated to increase to up to 70% over the next 20 years. Cities have long been known to be society’s predominant engine of innovation and wealth creation, but they are also a main source of pollution, crime and disease. Well-designed and efficient urban and transport systems are essential for cities and their citizens to thrive. Yet, the reality is that current urban and transport development have been less than optimal, creating and exacerbating human exposures to motor vehicle crashes, air pollution, noise, heat islands, lack of green space and sedentary behaviour, to name a few. These trends are associated with a large global burden of disease that has the potential to cripple even the best health care systems. This chapter provides an introduction to the many environmental and health issues that cities face as a result of urban and transport planning and policies. Some examples assessing the health impacts of urban and transport policies are overviewed. Different paradigms for cities and different city initiatives are overviewed. Finally, an introduction to the following chapters is provided.
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