Research Topic

Urban Environment and Health

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Frontiers in Built Environment publishes rigorously peer-reviewed research encompassing the engineering of buildings, sustainable cities and urban spaces. Abiding with this research mission, the “Urban Environment and Health” Research Topic will embody scholarship focusing on the link between urbanization and ...

Frontiers in Built Environment publishes rigorously peer-reviewed research encompassing the engineering of buildings, sustainable cities and urban spaces. Abiding with this research mission, the “Urban Environment and Health” Research Topic will embody scholarship focusing on the link between urbanization and public health. Specifically, this Research Topic will offer a space for an interdisciplinary exploration and presentation of research demonstrating an evident justification and rationale of the broader determinants of urban health and well-being.

According to the World Health Organization, “urbanization is one of the leading global trends of the 21st century that has a significant impact on health”. It is expected that by 2050, nearly three-quarters of the world’s population will reside in an urban environment. While it is recognized that some of the influencing factors of urban health include population characteristics; natural and built environments; and social and economic development, it is essential to acknowledge that urban life bears advantages and disadvantages. With urbanization and population growth, city life has become a reality for most of the global population, in addition to, the increased health risks that accompany urban spaces and settings. Some of these risks include air pollution, poor urban sanitation, substandard housing, green space scarcity, congestion, and violence. Likewise, physical and mental urban health issues have expanded beyond traditional morbidities to include, but not limited to, infectious and chronic diseases while also identifying the social (e.g., social support; residential segregation; transportation options) and physical (e.g., natural and built environments; housing and community design) determinants of health. The dramatic health differences between or within these residentially dense geographies, reinforced by varying physical and social environments, further compound the urban identity. Urban residents are generally diverse in socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds, thereby making health inequities and disparities across social groups and neighborhoods even more apparent.

The choices made in built environment developments can have profound impacts on public health, sustainability, social cohesion and community economic vitality. In turn, the health and vitality of residential and commercial urban environments, or specifically the settings where people live and work, is influenced by their design and construction. Designers, engineers, urban planners, sociologists and public health practitioners are all working together toward the goal of building a healthy urban environment. Urban health scholarship facilitates the knowledge of the place-health nexus. Through research published within this “Urban Environment and Health” Research Topic; opportunities will arise for understanding how places affect health and how to devise strategies for the protection and promotion of urban community public health.

The “Urban Environment and Health” Research Topic may be realized by investigating the following critical issues:
• Built environment impacts on human health including indoor and outdoor urban spaces and settings;
• Health impacts, inequities and/or disparities related to the built environment in urban areas;
• Social and well-being impacts related to the built environment in urban neighborhoods;
• Technological and multidisciplinary engineering impacts on public health and the urban built environment; and
• Integrating the concept of “resilient cities and societies” within an examination of urban health impacts.


Keywords: Urbanization, Environment, Health, Spaces, Well-being, Cities


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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