WiSe 13/14: Healthy Urban Development - Tools and instruments as guides for health services when commenting on development policies, plans and proposals

Core Teaching Staff

Centre of Urban Epidemiology (Cue):

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Susanne Moebus, Robynne Sutcliffe, M. Sc. Public Health, Julita Skodra, M.Sc. Urban Management


Course description

Currently, urban regions are facing two  contrasting developments:  : on the one hand, the rapid expansion of urbanization, but on the other hand the increasing phenomenon of shrinking cities accompanied by urban redevelopment processes. Both developments are often intertwined spatially and temporally and are influenced by socio-demographic, economic, and cultural processes. It is necessary to implement adequate adaptation strategies for each strand of development with the aim to maintain a high standard of living and to achieve a high quality of life for the urban population.

At the planning level it is increasingly recognized that the design of urban space and residential environment does not only involve topics of spatial planning but is also strongly connected with health and environmental aspects. Therefore, an integrated approach with comprehensive measures is needed involving all sectors on an interdisciplinary level. Additionally, the complexity of possible pathways and causal chains through which social determinants can impact health make urban health a particularly challenging topic for urban planners and public health professionals.

The development of integrated approaches that focus on health and urban planning requirements is still relatively new. Most supportive tools are not specifically developed to connect urban planning and health issues. However, an instrument developed in Australia – the Healthy Urban Development Checklist from New South Wales (NSW) – aims to close this gap. This instrument comprises aspects of mobility, climate change, security or health care as well as target group-specific aspects taking into account socio-demographic characteristics, such as age, gender, socioeconomic status or health-related characteristics such as disease status or vulnerability.


Objectives of the course

This course is designed to acquaint students with the principles of health assessment tools and to provide field-level examples of instruments which support an engagement between urban planners, developers and health professionals. The students will carry out an individual project by applying the Urban Development (HUD) Checklist.

Upon completion of the course, students

·           will have enhanced knowledge and understanding of

o    key principles which promote health and wellbeing in urban systems

o    in-depth knowledge about the concept of (health) indicators

o    tools/instruments for reviewing and commenting on development plans

·           will gain practical skills to

o    apply and implement an assessment tool on specific projects, plans or proposals (identification of suitable partners, quartiers, etc.)

o    practice GIS (i.e. analysing accessibility)

Course Format

The course will be a combination of classical lectures, invited talks and group work with practical elements. The content can also be customized depending on the specific needs and demands of the students.

Details of the course and timetables

The course is divided in six meetings, each of 3 hours length (9.30 a.m.-12.30 p.m.). Homework and site visits are mandatory.

The course starts on 25th Jan. 2017, following dates are: 1st, 8th, 15th, 22th and 24th Feb 2017.


Students must hand in a short final report at the end of the course (1st Mar 2017).