Urban Health & Wellbeing

The Urban Health & Wellbeing programme proposes a new conceptual framework for considering the multi-factorial nature of both the determinants and the manifestations of health and wellbeing in urban populations.


Over half of the World’s population lives in urban areas and the urban population is increasing by about 2% annually. Urbanization presents opportunities and risks, as well as enormous challenges for maintain and improving human health and wellbeing. Systems analysis, which is explicitly designed to deal with complexity, and which draws on insights and inputs from diverse scientific disciplines, is an approach that has unique potential to address these issues. It is an approach that can enable the scientific community to generate and communicate knowledge in a way that can usefully inform policy choices based on the realities of urban environments.

The Urban Health and Wellbeing programme will create projects that are multi-disciplinary and collaborative, utilize systems analysis modelling methodology using feasibly-obtainable data, to simultaneously address multiple aspects of urban health, and be designed to generate understanding and products useful to policy-makers.

In addition to stimulating specific research projects, the programme focuses on

  • developing new methodologies and identifying data needs and knowledge gaps;
  • building and strengthening scientific capacity;
  • and facilitating communication and outreach.

The programme is envisaged as a 10-year initiative, to allow sufficient time for the research and policy communities that are concerned with urban health and wellbeing to adopt systems analysis approaches.