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Journal Article


Corburn J. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017; 14(2): e14020117.


Department of City and Regional Planning & School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


(Copyright © 2017, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






Urban places and health equity are two of the most challenging concepts for 21st century environmental health. More people live in cities than at any other time in human history and health inequities are increasing. Health inequities are avoidable differences in the social, environmental and political conditions that shape morbidity and mortality, and disproportionately burden the poor, racial, ethnic and religious minorities and migrants. By linking urban place and health inequities, research and action brings into sharp relief the challenges of achieving urban environmental justice. This article briefly reviews the complex definitions of urban places and how they can shape health equity in cities. I suggest that a more relational or integrated approach to defining urban places and acting on health equity can complement other approaches and improve the ability of public health to meet 21st century challenges. I close with suggestions for research and practice that might focus environmental public health on healthy urban place making. The practices include community driven map making, Health in All Policies (HiAP), promoting urban ecosystem services for health, and participatory and integrated approaches to urban slum upgrading. I conclude that if the global community is serious about the sustainable development goals (SDGs), greater attention must be paid to understanding and acting to improve urban places, living conditions and the social and economic conditions that can promote health equity.

Language: en


cities; environmental justice; place; toxic stress; urban health


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