In distressed urban neighborhoods where residential segregation concentrates poverty, liquor stores outnumber supermarkets, toxic sites are next to playgrounds, and more money is spent on prisons than schools, residents also suffer disproportionately from disease and premature death. Recognizing that city environments and the planning processes that shape them are powerful determinants of population health, urban planners today are beginning to take on the added challenge of revitalizing neglected urban neighborhoods in ways that improve health and promote greater equity. In Toward the Healthy City, Jason Corburn argues that city planning must return to its roots in public health and social justice. The first book to provide a detailed account of how city planning and public health practices can reconnect to address health disparities, Toward the Healthy City offers a new decision-making framework called "healthy city planning" that reframes traditional planning and development issues and offers a new scientific evidence base for participatory action, coalition building, and ongoing monitoring.
To show healthy city planning in action, Corburn examines collaborations between government agencies and community coalitions in the San Francisco Bay area, including efforts to link environmental justice, residents' chronic illnesses, housing and real estate development projects, and planning processes with public health. Initiatives like these, Corburn points out, go well beyond recent attempts by urban planners to promote public health by changing the design of cities to encourage physical activity. Corburn argues for a broader conception of healthy urban governance that addresses the root causes of health inequities.
Urban and Industrial Environments series
About the Author
Jason Corburn is Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. He is the author of Street Science: Community Knowledge and Environmental Health Justice, winner of the 2007 Paul Davidoff award given by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.
"A wonderfully readable, incisive analysis of the common ground between planning and public health. Toward the Healthy City reminds us that both environmental and social determinants of health must be considered, and that physical, political, and institutional changes must all be on the agenda, if we are to achieve healthy cities for all, especially for the most vulnerable among us."
Howard Frumkin, Director, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry , US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
"Jason Corburn is the torch bearer of the youngest generation of US advocates for integrated and empowered approaches to urban health planning, following in the footsteps of UC Berkeley luminaries such as Leonard Duhl and Sir Peter Hall. No surprise, then, that Corburn has produced a compelling call for action for US cities to move toward healthy cities. The time and political climate are ripe for such a step change in US urban development. Corburn inspires by continuing the argument he convincingly made in Street Science: good urban governance with empowered communities will lead to the re-emergence of synergies between the new public health, street-level urban planning, and a politics of community development that enable all to achieve their best; health, wealth, and the fulfilment of dreams and aspirations. Don't just read this book. Act on it."
Evelyne de Leeuw, Chair, Community Health Systems and Policy, Deakin University
"Corburn's Toward the Healthy City shows us how to reunite urban planning and public health. This is the great partnership that was responsible for major advances in health in the early 20th century. As Corburn reveals, by recreating this partnership we can overcome health disparities, chronic disease, and other pressing health problems of our era. This book is a must for everyone interested in health, cities, planning and our planet's future."
Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University
"Jason Corburn's incisive book provides a critical exploration of the necessary link between the role of city planning and public health in setting the long-term conditions for health and health equity in urban America. Combining historical, political, and social analysis, this long overdue assessment makes an important contribution to the theory and practice of achieving health equity that will be useful for planners, public health practitioners, and activists struggling for social justice."
Richard Hofrichter, Senior Analyst, Health Equity, National Association of County & City Health Officials