Urban Health

Urbanization increases all over the planet: more than 50% of the population worldwide are living in cities, in Europe more than 70%. The research field "Urban Health" investigates the influence of the urban environment on health outcomes and health equities. In this research area we particularly focus on the public health relevance of built and soical environments and of access to supply structures. We investigate physical and mental dimensions of health including sujective well-being.

The urban space is a complex system with interactions between elements of the built and social environment. Especially cumulative exposures and multiple environmental burdens are important issues in this research area. Therefore, we pursue not only a pathogenetic perspective on environmental pollutants in urban environments relevant for health, such as noise, air pollution or heat. We also consider the salutogenetic perspective on environmental resources, such as access to green or blue spaces or social support in the close neighbourhood environment. Furthermore, we investigate how health relevant behaviours (e.g. physical activity) are influenced by the social and built environment.

Based on our research results on health risks and resources in the urban context we develop approaches for healthy city planning. We give recommendations for planning neighbourhood environments supporting physical activity as well as increasing participation in political decision processes relevant for urban environments, such as in the context of noise action planning. For the development and implementation of health promoting strategies a comprehensive cooperation between public health and urban planning is essential. Moreover, a health (equity) in all policies strategy is elementary for cross-sectoral health promoting urban development.

Our projects in this research area are:

Current projects:


Completed projects: