Wednesday, September 12, 2012

[EQ] Call for Case Studies on Healthy Urban Planning

Call for Case Studies on Healthy Urban Planning

The World Health Organization Centre for Health Development in Kobe, Japan (WHO Kobe Centre/WKC)

Project on urban health governance, and a collaborative initiative with UN-HABITAT.

The objective is to document how urban planning can be used as an application of multisectoral action to promote health, particularly in relation to noncommunicable diseases. Healthy urban planning is an area that WHO and UN-HABITAT are engaged as a follow up of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two organizations. The joint activities to be developed include:


·         Generating  evidence for sustaining action on social and environmental determinants of health in urban settings; and

·         Advocating for intersectoral policies and multisectoral activities for urban health and development.

WKC is willing to support up to 3 case studies on how healthy urban planning can be implemented through multisectoral action. The funding of each case study will depend on the nature of the research proposed, its duration, and the budget justification. It is envisaged that these case studies will be published and disseminated by WKC.

The complex net of interrelated factors that influence health has been an important consideration since the beginning of public health as a discipline. WHO has explicitly promoted approaches that account for these factors since the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care. Today, the need to include many sectors of society in addition to health, in the process of designing and implementing public policies, to improve quality of life - known as multisectoral action for health (MSA) - is widely recognized, and a WHO priority.  The emphasis on social determinants of health by WHO and the renewed commitment to primary health care have reinforced the need to identify mechanisms to promote MSA.

Healthy urban planning can have a direct impact on the determinants of health in urban settings, and hence can provide a framework and a model for reducing health inequities in cities. Examples of potentially health promoting interventions of urban planning are strengthening non-motorized transportation, and increasing access to parks and green areas.

This initiative follows from the results of an expert meeting on healthy urban planning held in Kobe in 2011 (

The outcomes of this research are expected to contribute to the background materials for the
8th Global Conference on Health Promotion to be held in Helsinki in 2013  as examples of MSA. 
This project is also linked to the implementation of the recommendations included in the Political Declaration of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Disease Prevention and Control held in 2011 (



·         To identify multisectoral policies, strategies and/or interventions of urban planning used to impact on health in middle sized cities.

·         To identify mechanisms used for multisectoral action by urban planning interventions.

·         To derive lessons for national and sub-national policymakers from different sectors on effective multisectoral urban planning approaches to prevent noncommunicable diseases and to promote health in cities.

Scope and methodology

Each case study is expected to document one urban centre in Asia which has an approximate population ranging between 200,000-300,000 people, and which in the last 10 years has implemented an urban planning intervention with multisectoral involvement that has impacted on health.  The studies will be undertaken using a case study method (e.g., Yin 1994).

The case study should concentrate on:


·         describing the main health challenges that exist within the given selected city, and their relation to its urban context;

·         examining the key elements of urban planning that have been used to guide the process;

·         addressing  the approach used for multisectoral action for health in implementing the urban planning initiative;

·         assessing the degree to which the social and environmental determinants of health were incorporated;  and

·         evaluating the resulting health outcomes from available evidence.

The initiatives should show how different sectoral interests were aligned and how operations were integrated with the regular functioning of the implementing institutions. The areas of interventions should cover the intersection of the health sector and one or more of the following sectors: environment, transportation, agriculture, commerce, and industry.  Other sectors will also be considered.

Expressions of interest

Expressions of interest can be addressed via email to Suvi Huikuri (
Expressions of interests are
due on 30 September 2012, should be no longer than 1500 words, and should include the following information:

·         The policy or intervention. An overview of the healthy urban planning policy or intervention, stating the sectors involved.

·         The strategy to document the case and the impact of the policy. The methodological approach, sources of information, and data to be used in the research should be described.

·         General overview of expected lessons learnt.

·         Brief description of the research institution and/or individual researcher(s).  Expertise in public health, urban planning or related fields, and excellent English writing skills are mandatory. Prior experience with the United Nations (UN) will be considered as an advantage.


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