ABSTRACT

This chapter sets out the ways in which urban planning can address the health issues faced in current society and how planners and designers can create environments that will help to prevent avoidable illnesses at an early stage. Progress is made in areas, but not enough people have the confidence to make decisions to safeguard their long-term health. A useful starting point is ‘Ecocity’, an initiative documented by an international team between 2002 and 2005 and sponsored by European Union, with a brief to produce best-practice principles and preliminary designs for urban planning projects in European cities, as far apart as Barcelona in Spain to Tampere in Finland. The Ecocity approach would require adjustments to ways of life to which people would need to become accustomed. Social interaction is central to our mental health, providing with stimulation and the opportunity to exchange information with people meet and playing an important role in maintaining our sense of belonging to a community.