A prime field for citizens’ wellbeing is collective health, which is largely determined by policies outside the Health sector. Some issues like socioeconomic factors, education and culture, the physical features of the cities and towns, environmental factors, etc., have a more important impact on people’s health and quality of life than the health system itself.
At the same time, Europe’s cities are the engines of economic growth as well as generators of wealth, innovation and employment. Thus, they are the centres of social and cultural development, but also the hot spots of social and spatial segregation, social exclusion, mobility problems and environmental and health threats.
As a result, the wellbeing of citizens depends to a high degree on how cities are managed and how governments tackle these complex and multi-dimensional challenges. In this context, innovative leadership, cross-cutting policies and working methods and shared governance fostering health and wellbeing of citizens are more relevant than ever. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that cities develop an integrated and sustainable approach towards urban development, focusing on citizens’ and other stakeholders’ needs.
Many European cities already show commitment and innovation in how to solve these challenges and created novel solutions for providing healthy urban environments. Their proposals were presented in the conference “Urban Development for Healthier Cities. A Cross-cutting Approach to Innovative Local Governance”, that took place at Sant Pau on the 13-14 June.
The conference concentrated on these best practices and showcases some of the leading-edge approaches that European cities of different sizes developed in order to enhance the quality of life of their citizens.
One of these outstanding examples is the EPSA 2015 winner of the cross-cutting award ‘Urban Environment and Health’ submitted by the Provincial Council of Barcelona.
The European Commissioner for the Environment, Karmenu Vella, congratulated the Barcelona Provincial Council for the initiative and sent a message to the assistants about the importance for Europe to take care of urban environment and Health. Click here to watch the video message.