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One-day online conference to explore the issues around creating places that promote good physical and mental health.

Human health and well-being are intimately linked to the state of the environment and the places we live. According to the World Health Organisation and UN-Habitat the environment where we live determines at a minimum 25 per cent of our health status. From climate change to urban environment ‘stressors’ including pollution and noise, the need for people to live and work in places that promote good health is important – even before you consider the effects of a Covid-19.

As the medical saying goes, prevention is better than the cure. This applies equally to health in our towns and cities, where design, policymaking and management needs to play a more active role in promoting good health, rather than leaving it to health service providers to pick up the pieces. 

Urbanists, therefore, have a responsibility to get out in front of the problem and make the case for change. And the urbanist agenda is not limited to protecting people from stressors, but actually getting into the business of creating health; making healthy behaviours and lifestyles a natural rhythm of urban living. Be this through, promoting active travel, ensuring that everyday amenities are accessible locally or supporting more inclusive and diverse communities.     

But with so much talk nowadays of health-related interventions we need to ask ourselves:

  • Should one fix be prioritised over another?
  • How do the various silos involved in city-making come together to solve these issues?
  • How can we ensure that our interventions add up to an holistic and equal change across all facets of society?

Join us for this forthcoming conference to explore these issues and more. Learn from leading international case studies and how the impact they have made has been measured. Find out which type of placemaking is best for which context and how it has been delivered. 

We will hear from leading experts who will set the scene in terms of the challenges now and what may be coming around the corner in the next decade and more.

This event is sponsored by Prior + Partners

Supported by Forty Shillings communications and engagement agency


09:55 Zoom Room Opens
10:00 Welcome and Introduction from Andreas Markides AoU
Vice-Chair of The Academy of Urbanism
10:05 SESSION 1: CONTEXT – Transforming the unhealthy city
Moderator: Marcus Grant AoU, Environmental Stewardship for Health, Editor-in-Chief Cities & Health journal   

Carolyn Daher, Coordinator of the Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative, Barcelona Institute of Global Health   

Joanne Smithson, Local Government & Health Sector Lead, What Works Centre for Wellbeing
11:00 Break
11:15 SESSION 2: Rebooting the physical movement network 
Moderator: by: Andreas Markides AoU, Vice Chair, The Academy of Urbanism

Equitable mobilities
Prof Nick Tyler, Director of the UCL Centre for Transport Studies and Chadwick Professor of Civil Engineering, UCL

Real people and the cities they deserve: beyond theory and towards commitment
Martina Juvara, Director, Urban Silence

Better understanding links between urban form, life style and health
Ed Parham, Director, Space Syntax

12:30 Lunch
13:30 SESSION 3: Harnessing urban assets
Moderator: Jonathan Burroughs, CEO, Creative Places

Shaping neighbourhoods for local health and global sustainability
Marcus Grant AoU, Environmental Stewardship for Health, Editor-in-Chief Cities & Health journal

Designing for Healthy Communities, with a case study of Google Masterplan, California
Katherine Keyes, Senior Urban Planner, Prior + Partners
Odysseas Diakakis,  Senior Urban Designer, Prior + Partners

Mindful Regeneration
Natascha McIntyre Hall, Head of Regeneration, Gleeds

14:45 Break
15:00 SESSION 4: Planning-out inequalities in health
Moderator: Professor Laura Vaughan, Professor of Urban Form and Society,  The Bartlett School of Architecture

Using planning to address the spatial disparities of poor health
Michael Chang, Programme Manager - Planning and Health, Healthy Places and Communities at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Department of Health and Social Care

Healthy placemaking
Professor Georgia Butina Watson, Professor in Urban Design, Oxford Brookes University

Mental health and active travel
Dawn Wylie, Independent Equalities, Health & Wellbeing Consultant

Restorative Cities
Dr. Layla McCay, Director of the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health and Director of Policy for NHS Confederation


Moderator: Andreas Markides, Chairman, Markides Associates

Healthy urban living for everyone: City of Utrecht
Erlijn Mulder, International Affairs at the City of Utrecht
17:10 Closing comments
Marcus Grant AoU, Environmental Stewardship for Health, Editor-in-Chief Cities & Health journal

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The Academy of Urbanism (Number 2) Limited is a not-for-profit organisation limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales 0595604, 11c Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 IXE, United Kingdom.
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