5 Things Every Healthy City Needs
Date published 15 November 2019
When people hear the term ‘healthy city’, most imagine inclusive communities with green, lush environments and happy, healthy individuals. Indeed, these are all important parts of what makes a healthy city, but it is much more complicated than that. Healthy city planning is a complex field aimed at improving the lives of residents and the quality of our environments. Everybody wants to live in a healthy city, but in order to achieve this we must ask ourselves ‘What is a healthy city?’.
In terms of what defines a healthy city, the World Health Organisation describes it as a process rather than an outcome. Healthy cities are constantly creating and improving their environments to support the community and allow people to reach their full potential. They provide plenty of recreational and educational opportunities, greenery and cleanliness, keeping the streets clean and adopting green energy solutions on a significant scale. Healthy city planning is consequently important to improve quality of life and many other socioeconomic indicators, such as homelessness, employment, education and illness.
Here are 5 things every healthy city needs.
Outdoor exercise areas
Outdoor exercise areas are an important part of a healthy city. At its core, these involve having access to and the ability to engage with outdoor activities. While this may involve parks, playgrounds and fitness equipment, it also encompasses outdoor team and individual sports as well as bike paths, scooter and bike tracks. Access to bike and scooter racks greatly encourage health-conscious, active lifestyles. In addition, they promote green transport solutions, helping the environment.
Healthy city planning involves having plenty of outdoor seating for residents to rest and enjoy the fresh air. This doesn’t just include seating in parks but also urban spaces, both of which often attract big crowds. Park and outdoor benches should be comfortable and sturdy so citizens feel compelled to use them when they need a break.
Access to clean water
Unfortunately, many cities across the world don’t provide public access to clean water, a basic human right. Drinking fountains are a crucial part of a healthy city because they ensure that everyone has access to this basic resource. Additionally, they motivate people to stay hydrated, which in turn has various health benefits such as clear skin and healthy kidneys. Lastly, drinking fountains also help reduce waste by allowing people to refill their bottles without having to buy more plastic. All in all, drinking fountains are an easy way to improve the wellbeing of a population.
Large, open, green spaces are part of what makes a healthy city, they are not only appealing to the eye but functional too. Having greenery that is easily accessible means that more people can exercise outdoors and breathe in the fresh air, which contributes to improving the mental and physical health of the population. Particularly in the digital era, greenery provides a rest from the screen and helps soothe eye fatigue. At the same time, trees contribute to a healthy city by providing oxygen, cleaning the air and supporting wildlife. Today, planter boxers and tree protectors make including greenery in healthy city planning a breeze.
Everybody wants to live in a clean space, after all, unhygienic environments are associated with higher rates of illness and disease. Hence, cleanliness is important not only for the environment but for public health as well. While initially a challenge, you can instill good habits into the population by teaching them respect for the environment and making throwing rubbish away convenient. Having enough public litter bins will discourage people from littering and help create a healthy city.
The answer to the question ‘What makes a healthy city?’ is not necessarily straightforward. However, experts agree that outdoor exercise areas, outdoor seating, access to clean water, greenery and cleanliness are 5 things every healthy city needs. Healthy city planning is a growing and ever-evolving field, constantly working to improve communities’ standard of living. To find out more and for a selection of products essential to a healthy city, contact us today.