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Glob Health Promot. 2016 Mar;23(1 Suppl):94-7. doi: 10.1177/1757975915601038.

Equity, sustainability and governance in urban settings.

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Merci (Marilyn E Rice Consulting International), VA, USA
School of Public Health and Social Policy, University of Victoria, BC, Canada.


In this commentary the urban setting is explored from the perspective of ecological sustainability and social equity. Urban-related issues are highlighted related to social inequality, deficits in urban infrastructures, behavior-related illnesses and risks, global ecological changes, and urban sprawl. Approaches to addressing these issues are described from the perspective of urban governance, urban planning and design, social determinants of health, health promotion, and personal and community empowerment. Examples of successful strategies are provided from Latin America, including using participatory instruments (assessments, evaluation, participatory budgeting, etc.), establishing intersectoral committees, increasing participation of civil society organizations, and developing virtual forums and networks to channel participatory and collaborative processes. A way forward is proposed, using the urban setting to show the imperative of creating intersectoral policies and programs that produce environments that are both healthy and sustainable. It will be important to include new forms of social participation and use social media to facilitate citizen decision-making and active participation of all sectors of society, especially excluded groups.


climate change; collaboration/partnerships; determinants of health; empower/power; equity/social justice; governance; healthy cities/healthy communities; urban planning/urban health/urbanization

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