Urban policies and the creation of healthy urban environments: A review of government housing and transport policy documents in the United Kingdom

Geoff Bates, Md Nazmul Hasan, Andrew Barnfield, Krista Bondy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)

Abstract

Urban environments are key health determinants and play a critical role in improving health outcomes and equity. However, urban policies in the United Kingdom (UK) and globally frequently fail to produce healthy towns and cities. Given the highly centralized nature of UK policy, we analyzed national UK policy documents published since 2010 in two key areas of urban policy: housing supply and transport. We found that health is largely absent in narratives shaping urban development and, where health is included, it is as an assumed indirect outcome of delivering other policy agendas. Thus, we recommend that explicit direct and measurable health objectives must be integrated front and center in urban policies, and cross-sector collaboration across national government on health prevention to manage the complex linkages across policy areas. Evidencing the interactive effects between improving health outcomes and dominant urban policy agendas can incentivize shared accountability for health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Early online date18 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding:
This work was supported by the UK Prevention Research Partnership (award reference: MR/S037586/1), which is funded by the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health and Social Care Directorates, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, Health and Social Care Research and Development Division (Welsh Government), Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, Natural Environment Research Council, Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland), The Health Foundation and Wellcome.

Data availability statement:
The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author, [GB], upon reasonable request email: [email protected].

Keywords

  • Urban health
  • housing
  • policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

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