Go to content
Work Package # 6Healthy living environment

Healthy Urban Environments


Seventy-five percent of the population of the European Region live in towns and cities (Statista, 2022). Multiple risk factors such as air pollution, noise and social isolation converge in urban environments, and people are at increased risk of noncommunicable diseases. Concurrently, urban environments are a place for change with a range of services and resources available for large integrated interventions, with potential for disease prevention and improved health and quality of life (Nieuwenhuijsen & Khreis, 2019). Improved access to and use of green and blue space and establishing car-free environments are key interventions addressing air pollution, noise, and physical inactivity, important health determinants that are structured by social inequality and affect individuals across the lifecourse (Ganzleben & Marnane, 2020). Green space and pedestrianised areas are neighbourhood meeting places, enhancing social cohesion, especially among vulnerable groups. These interventions also address climate health threats such as from heat. Ensuring equity remains a challenge, however, as improvements in urban environments may not benefit all equally and can potentially further disadvantage vulnerable groups.


To promote equitable urbanism that uses nature-based solutions, increases green mobility, access and use of green and blue spaces, and car-free environments, towards creating climate resilient and healthy urban environments.

Specific objectives

The specific objectives for this task are the following:

  • To generate evidence on actions that facilitate active engagement with urban environments through implementation of pilot projects and/or best practices  
  • To develop and test evaluation and decision support tools for healthy urban environments
  • To evaluate the process and societal and behavioural impacts of interventions to create healthy urban environments
  • To disseminate recommendations for equitable health enhancing urban planning and design 

This task has links with the Healthier Together EU NCDs Initiative through addressing the health determinants air pollution and physical inactivity. Furthermore, it builds on the WHO “Best buys” for prevention of NCDs: Reducing physical inactivity by targeting macro-level urban design, provide adequate facilities in school settings, and access to quality public open space and infrastructure supporting active transport.