Urban Insight introduces new theme “Health and Wellbeing” and welcomes new Expert Leader

Health and Wellbeing

Urban health is an increasingly important challenge for future communities and cities. By 2050, 70% of the world population will be urban. The Urban Insight knowledge program will, in 2021, turn its attention to our “urban health and wellbeing”. Over the year experts will investigate how together, we can improve the health of our urban communities and urban living areas.

At Urban Insight, the cross-border and knowledge-driven initiative, we have accelerated knowledge surrounding several areas of concern to Europe citizens. Experts across the world have reported on urban and landscape infrastructure, addressing the themes of sustainable mobility and transport, and urban energy required for everything from providing citizens with water, heating and cooling systems, to other community functions, and climate action, providing solutions on how to mitigate and adapt future cities and communities. In the following theme urban health and wellbeing, we explore social sustainability (healthy societies), health prevention and how to build resiliency within communities.

The urban lifestyle often exposes us to negative environmental factors such as high levels of air and noise pollution. In addition, the current pandemic has revealed weak spots in our urban spaces and societies. Simultaneously, the health of our ecosystems is in danger; contamination and pollution threaten our most valuable resources and climate change is accelerating each day.

Questions Urban Insight will investigate in urban health and wellbeing 2021

Our commitment is future-focused; we aim to find the best solutions within sustainable urban planning by asking the right questions: How do we plan and design future cities and societies together?

  • Cities should remain safe for citizens throughout the entire life cycle. What does it mean to plan cities and societies from a citizen perspective?
  • How do we ensure clean air and water, safe urban structures, support mental and physical health? Does a green environment or car-free streets impact a healthy mind?
  • Recovery and wellbeing: How do we design healing environments and places for recovery? (e.g. in hospitals, schools and public spaces) What will our future care model look like? How will the integration of smart solutions impact the future health infrastructure? And how do design and monitor prevention; how can we transform public space to keep citizens healthy?
  • The European population is ageing: How do we design urban areas, that consider all generations and citizens, and support longer healthier lives and opportunities to work etc.? How to build inclusive cities?
  • How do we use less of our planet’s resources? Which new economies could be instigated for a more sustainable urbanisation? How to design/build self-sustaining villages and low impact developments?

Introducing Expert Leader Isabelle Putseys

Isabelle PutseysThe Expert Leader is responsible to developing the theme together with experts and key stakeholders and leading the work with the development of Urban Insight reports and initiating cross-border collaborations. Isabelle Putseys is the chosen Expert Leader for the 2021 Urban Insight theme “Urban Health and Wellbeing”.

Isabelle Putseys is a senior expert in integrated urban design with over 15 years of work experience. Trained as an architect, with a Doctorate in Engineering Sciences and with expertise in climate change adaption and mitigation and water management. She has been working as a program director in blue-green networks in the Eurometropolis region. Isabelle is, in her own words “…attracted by wicked urban problems and complexity”. After completing work for the Flemish Government, she began at Sweco in Belgium where she has worked for one year with complex (multidisciplinary) tenders, scoping them towards climate-responsive projects. She has a generalist mindset and pursues interdisciplinary explorations and cross border collaborations.

Urban Insight needs you

For additional knowledge, for collaborations and for solutions as we move from an awareness of sustainable urban areas to action.
The proposed report topics provide a framework in progress. Informed by facts, expert insights and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as recent academic insight, Urban Health & Wellbeing has started to take form.

We would like to invite you to contribute to the Urban Insight knowledge resource. Contribute your ideas about future challenges and needs in our cities and societies, and contact us for collaborations to continue in developing knowledge, innovations and insights. We also warmly welcome input regarding digital tools and methods that have been used or experimented with to support topics such as: citizen science, participation tools, visualizations, modelling, parametric design, digital twins, virtual realities, data management, blockchain, etc.

To best prepare the cities of the future we rely on the innovation and knowledge present in all disciplines and moreover the collaboration between disciplines to explore new futures.

Do you have any further questions or input for us on the theme development for 2021? Get in touch with the Urban Insight team.