Without the health motive, urban planning (and public housing) might never have developed into separate professional domains.
Sewage systems and the networks of clean drinking water defined street patterns, investments in public housing resulted in sizable expansion plans, today’s healthy cities concept questions the car dependent urban developments of the 1950s and 1960s and redesigns cities in order to make them walkable. The Expertise Centre uses a simple but adequate model of the healthy city as a bridge between urbanism and its intended
impact on public health:
A healthy environment does not suffer from air and water pollution; buildings have a healthy indoor climate and citizens have access to clean drinking water. Waste disposal systems are up and running, urban hygiene measures, including (temporary) provisions that may help to cope with epidemic diseases, are in place.
The most effective way of urban planning to contribute to public health is by promoting healthy lifestyles. Actively moving around (walking, cycling), access to healthy food, social support and attractive greenery lower the risk of obesity, stress and social isolation, and the physical and mental problems caused by them.
A sustainable environment saves energy and raw material, reduces the need for large-scale industrial food production and minimizes the need to transport food from faraway regions.