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Case study

Compendium of inspiring practices: health edition

International guidelines on urban and territorial planning
Health Urban planning Case study

The need for simple, universally agreed principles to guide actors and decision-makers involved in the planning of towns and cities led to the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning being approved by UN-Habitat’s Governing Council in 2015.

These Guidelines provide a global reference framework for improving policies, plans, designs and implementation processes that will lead to more compact, socially inclusive, better-integrated and connected cities and territories that foster sustainable urban development and are resilient to climate change. They consist of 12 key principles and 114 action-oriented recommendations targeted at four stakeholder groups: national governments, local authorities, planning professionals and their associations, and civil society and its organizations.

The evidence and lessons learned in relation to the Guidelines from various regions and contexts were documented in the publication IG-UTP: Towards a Compendium of Inspiring Practices. That document is intended to be of use to the global IG-UTP network and relevant planning constituencies.

This second collection of case studies, the Compendium of Inspiring Practices: Health Edition, showcases 20 urban and territorial planning projects that positively and explicitly contribute to human health through the improvement of the built and natural environment. It is the result of an open call for case studies by UN-Habitat in mid-2018.

Four key lessons about planning and its relationship with the health of people can be learned from the cases here:

  1. Close collaboration between health practitioners and urban and territorial planners is a key element of successful spatial development. Collaboration as a process is not only a methodology to bring together two or more parties for engagement and participation; it is also a learning tool that involves intellectual exchange and cross-fertilization of ideas from different perspectives.
  2. Several layers of stakeholders being involved, from neighbourhood residents to local government officials, creates the advantages of ownership and involvement, among other things.
  3. Putting health at the centre of any planning and letting it lead the process ensures health benefits are an outcome.
  4. Putting health practices into urban policy is an effective way to improve and strengthen government systems that are aimed at achieving better health.

This edition focuses on 20 stories from countries around the world that highlight different issues as well as the approaches taken to resolve these issues or manage their associated health problems and the innovative features of each case. The stories are all very different from each other and are drawn from a wide range of countries that have different levels of development and therefore different concerns.

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