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Programme

The Call for Papers is now open – don't miss out, submit by 30 May. 

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Building a fairer future

Advancing health equity through impact investment

In a decade characterised by major geopolitical shifts, a climate crisis and a pandemic, the future has never seemed so uncertain. Yet, there is hope that by investing in healthier and more sustainable cities, a fairer future can emerge.

By embedding ‘health in all policies’ and positioning people and communities at the centre of urban policy and practice, city leaders who work in partnership with business and community leaders to prioritise health equity, diversity and inclusion can underpin future prosperity by helping create the conditions for a healthy and more productive population.

Non-communicable diseases, including heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, diabetes, and mental health conditions, kill 41 million people each year and are intrinsically linked to the quality of the built environment. The way we plan, design, regenerate, and invest in our urban environments is therefore critical to future health creation. Planning compact neighbourhoods with a mix of residential, commercial, and recreational spaces, supported by sustainable transport infrastructure and green spaces, can create major health benefits, in air quality, mental health, and social cohesion. At the same time, higher standards are needed for buildings to promote healthy and sustainable living via energy-efficient design, access to daylight, and better indoor air quality.

Sustainability of our cities depends on building resilience to climate change impacts, through infrastructure upgrades and disaster preparedness, at the same time as protecting finite planetary resources through better water conservation, waste management and sustainable food programmes. Promoting diversity, equity and social cohesion through inclusive policies, affordable housing strategies, community engagement, and accessible services ensures that all residents benefit from the city’s growth. And data-driven decision-making and citizen participation can capitalise on smart technology and AI to enhance urban sustainability, improve service delivery, and optimise city operations. By integrating these characteristics into urban planning, cities can create a more resilient, liveable and sustainable environment for current and future generations.

Routes to health equity

But knowing what needs to be done is different from delivering a fairer future. Improving health equity through city regeneration needs strong governance and new approaches to

finance, such as accessing the US$1.6 trillion global market for impact investment, which prioritises environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria in real estate investment decisions to generate positive social impact while delivering financial returns.

This involves strategic planning, wide stakeholder collaboration, and targeted interventions, to ensure that real estate and place-based impact investments support inclusive urban planning to address housing insecurity and create diverse, resilient communities. There is also a need to incentivise community participation and co-design that engages residents, community organisations, and public health experts in the urban regeneration process, to ensure that the needs of marginalised populations are met.

Investing to provide identity and hope
Attracting real estate investment can revitalise underutilised urban areas, brownfields, or blighted properties, transforming them into attractive, mixed-income communities with better infrastructure, public spaces, and amenities. Connected to new business, innovation and knowledge districts, these investments create jobs, stimulate growth, raise income levels, and provide identity and hope to future generations.

By integrating these strategies into city regeneration projects and investment decisions, stakeholders can create inclusive, healthy and sustainable urban environments that promote health and wellbeing for all residents, and prioritise equity in planning, implementation, and evaluation processes, essential for achieving lasting positive impact.

This year, the historic maritime city of Liverpool will again host the 8th Healthy City Design 2024 International Congress and Awards. Organised by SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange and the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art, in collaboration with Impact on Urban Health and Cities & Health journal, we are delighted to invite you to contribute to a new dialogue on the future fairness of our cities and communities by submitting abstract submissions by the deadline of 30 May using the abstract submission form.

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Call For Papers

Congress attendees will develop their knowledge of the political and economic context, emerging practice, latest research findings, and skills and core competencies in designing, planning and commissioning city services, technology and infrastructure, project management, and the evidence base for environmentally responsible urban planning, design and public health.

We invite you to submit abstracts on the core themes by 30 May using the online form.

Download the Call for Papers

2024 Themes

Impact investment and good governance

Mobilising capital for place-based investment that builds thriving, diverse and prosperous communities

Community impact

Empowering communities to design and lead changes to systems and environments driving health inequalities

Homes and neighbourhoods

Creating healthier and inclusive living spaces that enhance residents’ quality of life and contribute to thriving communities

Urban design, placemaking and the public realm

Urban strategies that promote compact and vibrant cities, prioritise wellbeing, and foster community resilience

Transport and mobility

Innovative, inclusive and accessible transportation strategies that promote healthy active travel and sustainable mobility

Planetary health

Embedding planetary health and circular economy principles into urban governance, policy, design and implementation

Innovation and the knowledge economy

Scaling digital transformation with AI, new workplace models and innovation districts in the smart city

Population health

Delivering accessible place-based care through cross-sector partnering and health planning across local health economies

Chaired and directed by

Prof Jeremy Myerson
Prof Jeremy Myerson
Co-founder, Healthy City Design; director, WORKTECH Academy; professor emeritus, Royal College of Art, UK
Marc Sansom
Marc Sansom
Co-founder, Healthy City Design; Managing director, SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange
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