Este artículo está también disponible en / This post is also available in: Spanish
There are many variables that affect our health, both at the individual and community level. Among the latter, as the COVID experience has made clear, urban services play a fundamental role in the health of the population. But this role is not relevant only at times of health crises; urban services are also fundamental for improving public health in a comprehensive manner for everyone.
To move in this direction, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) just published the monograph Inclusive Cities: Healthy Cities for All, which presents some of the main public health challenges facing our cities.
The monograph is organized in two parts. The first explores some of the dynamics of social inequality and low health standards of urban residents. The second part addresses how cities can contribute to improving the health standards of all their inhabitants.
All the contributions in this book are based on rigorous data and research, and present real cases from cities in the region.
Inclusive Cities: Healthy Cities for All
Inclusive Cities: Healthy Cities for All addresses issues critical to the health of urban dwellers in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Whether your city is large or small, all these issues are of vital importance to your municipality:
- The interdependence between physical-social factors and health.
- The relationship between urban characteristics and the incidence of COVID-19
- The connections between social inequality and exposure to environmental pollution
- The relationship between urban planning and gender violence
- The power of urban interventions – such as public transport and social housing – to improve health indicators
- The relevance of good data for improving the accessibility of health systems.
To bring these topics even closer to our readers, today we begin a series of blogs based on some of the most relevant chapters of this monograph. Join us in answering the following questions:
1. How does a home influence the health of its occupants?
The quality and location of housing has direct implications for the health of those who live in it. There are many studies that support how living in adequate housing contributes to improving the health of the household. If a home has access to water and sanitation services, is in a safe area, and is located close to health care and education services, it has a major impact on the health of the entire family.
On World Health Day, and prior to the publication of the monograph Inclusive Cities: Healthy Cities for All, Ciudades Sostenibles published the direct relationship between health and housing. This blog can be very useful for cities and municipalities that are working on public policies aimed at improving the health of their neighbors, as these should be coordinated with those carried out in neighborhoods and housing.
2. Has the pandemic aggravated urban inequality in the region?
More than 6.5 million people have died worldwide from COVID-19. LAC has been one of the regions most affected by the pandemic and some of the countries in the region have the highest mortality rates. If we also consider that LAC has wide inequities in health, we must ask ourselves the following question: Has the pandemic aggravated urban inequality in the region?
In this blog, we address a recent study exploring whether these pre-existing health inequalities continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether their magnitude is stable or being amplified by the pandemic.
3. How does living in my city influence my health?
Health inequalities caused by the place of residence are present throughout LAC, both between and within cities. This blog discusses how factors such as access to clean water infrastructure, sanitation, garbage collection, public transportation or access to health care make some neighborhoods or cities healthier than others.
An IDB study demonstrates how the local incidence of COVID-19 has been influenced by the location of those infected. The blog will also show how socioeconomic vulnerabilities explain differences in the impact of the pandemic. It will also capture the reasons why inequality has increased in the region because of the coronavirus health crisis.
4. Is there inequality in pollution exposure between rich and poor neighborhoods?
Inequality in LAC goes beyond income disparity and affects the health of its inhabitants. This blog documents another dimension of inequality in the region: inequality in exposure to ambient air and noise pollution.
Because air and noise pollution negatively impact human capital and economic outcomes, unequal exposure to ambient pollution could exacerbate existing income and wealth inequalities. Don’t miss this blog post and discover the results of a study conducted by the IDB examining whether there is evidence in the region of differences in noise and air pollution levels depending on the socioeconomic status of a home’s location.
With this series of blogs, we expect that public managers and decision makers in LAC can optimize the great potential that cities have to improve the well-being of those who live in them. In the meantime, we invite you to register here to receive our monthly newsletter and not miss the blogs, courses, and publications of the Housing and Urban Development Division of the IDB.
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