A new Lancet Global Health Series on urban design, transport, and health led by Professor Billie Giles-Corti was launched as part of a webinar on Wednesday 11 May 2022.

The new Series builds on work published in a 2016 Lancet Series. In this new Series, the Global Healthy and Sustainable City-Indicators Collaboration assess the health and sustainability of 25 cities across 19 countries, using indicators of urban design and transport policies and features. The Series highlights that good city planning produces co-benefits for individual and planetary health and wellbeing.
The webinar presented the Series as a new comprehensive framework for planetary health and highlights the way we design cities has health outcomes for residents, and emissions.

The Series authors were brought together in the webinar with an external panel, to discuss what the Series recommendations mean for cities in the future. The panellists included Professor Tony Capon, Director of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute; Brent McLean, Director, Metropolitan Melbourne at Victorian Planning Authority and Dr Gillian Sparkes AM, Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability.

The discussion covered a range of topics related to urban design touching on housing density, protecting biodiversity, air pollution, integrated governance, and distributed health supportive amenities. Panellists confirmed the importance of the Series, that it provides tools and insights relevant for other cities and explored “where to next” to create healthy and sustainable cities, particularly considering the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

Dr Gillian Sparkes AM, said of the Lancet series authors “I’m extremely encouraged by your work and confident that we will be able to draw on this work, for city level reporting here in Victoria. Application of these indicators for regional as well as metropolitan cities will be critical.”

In response to Brent McLean, Dr Sparkes said, “Your reference to spatial data is consistent with the work we are doing. We made a recommendation to government on investment in spatial in our State of the Environment 2018 Report. In our recent State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report, there is a dedicated chapter on spatial information which looks at current, emerging, and future technologies. Also, in the State of the Environment 2023 Report, we will update the 170 indicators for Victoria reported in 2018, including 14 indicators of air quality. Localisation and spatial resolution of data is becoming increasingly important as we understand pollution and climate change impacts for communities”.

Background - Lancet Series on urban design

The first Lancet Series on urban design drew attention to the importance of integrated upstream city planning policies as a pathway to creating healthy and sustainable cities and proposed a set of city planning indicators that could be used to benchmark and monitor progress.

In this follow-up series, published in The Lancet Global Health, the authors show how the indicators can guide decisions about what must change to create healthy and sustainable cities, and how research can guide urban policy to achieve urban and population health.

About - Lancet Global Health

The Lancet Global Health is an internationally trusted source of global health knowledge. The open access journal publishes robustly designed original research on all aspects of global health, with a focus on disadvantaged populations, be they whole economic regions or marginalised groups within otherwise prosperous nations.

The Global Observatory of Healthy and Sustainable Cities was initiated by the Global Healthy and Sustainable City-Indicators Collaboration to host the indicators developed for The Lancet Global Health series on Urban Design, Transport and Health. The Global Healthy and Sustainable City Collaboration involved over 80 collaborators from 25 cities in 19 countries. To oversee the study, an international 12-member study Executive was established, and has met monthly since 2018. It involves a transdisciplinary and multi-organisational partnership among the People, Health and Place Unit of the Prevention Research Center, of the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, USA (website sponsor); the International Society of Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH); the International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA); the International Society of Urban Health (ISUH); and the Executive Committee of the Global Healthy and Sustainable City-Indicators Collaboration.