Introduction to urban poverty and health inequalities
This chapter briefly considers global issues of poverty, links to neoliberal inspired exploitation, and challenges to the health of urban populations in countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It considers efforts to define or conceptualize and measure poverty. The chapter introduces a relational understanding of health that implicates the actions of wealthy people in the (ill) health of the growing numbers of people experiencing socio-economic hardship. This leads to consideration of, and explanations for, the impact of urban poverty as a social determinant of health, which reflects inequitable social hierarchies and associated dysfunctional relationships between groups in society. The chapter draws on both psychosocial and materialist orientations towards health inequalities and contemporary intersectional work on social class. It sets up key themes include the conceptualization of people as relational and fundamentally interconnected beings, which is central to understanding links between urban poverty and health inequalities.