Spatial urban health equity indicators – a framework-based approach supporting spatial decision making

J. Flacke, H. Köckler

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Aspects of urban health have nowadays become a central issue in many sustainability concepts and plans. Especially health equity issues play an important role in urban areas, because “where in a city you live and how that city is governed can determine whether or not one benefits from city living”. That means differences in health outcome are amongst others determined by contextual factors. Scholars therefore detect a need for new urban health equity indicators that allow to monitor health inequities across place and time, particularly within a city neighbourhood. Likewise, population health is also more and more central in urban planning interventions striving for sustainable and healthy city development. However, in order to affect health issues by means of planning interventions, a good understanding of environmental and societal drivers and determinants of health outcomes, that can be influenced by interventions from planning and public health, is crucial. In the paper we develop an indicator framework to be used for targeting spatial planning interventions aiming for more urban health equity. The framework for Spatial Urban Health Equity Indicators (SUHEI) allows to map the relationships between exposure and health effects determined by various drivers, and therefore reveals explicit entry points for interventions. It combines elements of cause–effect indicator frameworks with elements of health equity models. First examples of the SUHEI framework as elaborated for the case study of the city of Dortmund in Germany. Results provide different entry points for urban planning interventions to contribute to more just and sustainable cities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable development and planning VII
EditorsO. Ozcevik, C.A Brebbia, S.M. Sener
Place of PublicationSouthampton
PublisherWIT Press
ISBN (Print)978-1-84564-924-1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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