How can ecological urbanism promote human health?

Laís Fajersztajn, Nilmara de Oliveira Alves, Micheline de Souza Zanotti Stagliorio Coelho, Mariana Matera Veras, Paulo Hilário Nascimento Saldiva


This special issue of URBE dedicated to Ecological Urbanism focuses on the role architects, landscape designers and urban planners can play in promoting healthier cities in Latin America. In this paper, we survey some of the empirical evidence that links the built environment with particular health outcomes. For many centuries, urban settlements were associated with adverse health outcomes, especially related to untreatable epidemics. As the science of disease transmission developed throughout the nineteenth century, the infrastructure of cities was transformed to promote improved public health. Significant gains were made, but in much of the world – Latin America included – urban health still remains a major challenge, all the more so as drug resistant strains of disease have become more prevalent. We believe Ecological Urbanism offers a promising framework for addressing these challenges. Distinguished by its integrated, multi-disciplinary foundation, Ecological Urbanism directly links both population and habitat health. This creates a natural opportunity for the design professions to play a more consequential role in shaping the health of urban settlements and, by extension, the regions they center


Urban health; Healthy cities; Ecological urbanism; Air pollution; Urban food production

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