One of these, “Green transportation for better urban health”, was presented earlier this month at a 3-day conference in Paris, “Urban dynamics and health”. The project will examine the interactions between transport, air pollution, climate change and health outcomes in Taipei.
Co-organised by ICSU with a number of French research and urban policy organisations, the conference had a highly inter-disciplinary scope. It brought in natural, social, health sciences as well as architecture and urban planning, and inter-sectoral representation of urban policy makers. Participants came from 47 countries, and Science Committee and regional committee members played a prominent role – giving plenary presentations and moderating sessions.
The new research programme will demonstrate that while the traditional biomedical approach to health is still necessary, it is not sufficient to deal with the complexity of issues that determine health and wellbeing in a dynamic urban environment.
At the Paris conference, ICSU’s Regional Office for the Asia-Pacific region led a session on systems approaches in the region. One of the main outcomes of the conference was the announcement of a broad coalition of partners to develop research projects and capacity building which exemplify an inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral, systems approach. A representative of the French Ministry of Research agreed that a new approach to research evaluation was needed to encourage this development.
The coalition will bring together the International Society for Urban Health (ISUH), the Inter-Academy Medical Panel (IAMP), the International Geography Union and Healthy-Polis – an international consortium for urban environmental health and sustainability.