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International Science Council

Xiamen Call for Action: Building the Brain of the City – Universal Principles of Urban Health

The question of how to achieve healthy, sustainable urban futures demands a singular emphasis. The scale and rate of change of modern urbanisation is unprecedented – so much so that it threatens the health gains of the past century. Urbanisation is the greatest ecological shift in human history, and in modern times has attained dimensions never seen before. We have mere decades to enact the greatest transformational change the planet has ever seen, if we are to safeguard a sustainable future. Indeed, the scope, scale, and ambition of transformative efforts need to accelerate dramatically, if humanity is to achieve sustainability before being overwhelmed by global change.

#BlueSkyChallenge #UrbanBetter

Join us to make the UrbanBetter, one breath at a time…
To celebrate the first UN International Day of Clean Air for Blue Skies on 07 September 2020, Urban Better and Engage Africa Foundation are running a challenge.

urban planning & development

Integrating health in human settlements

Health through human settlements: Investigating policymakers’ perceptions of human settlement action for population health improvement in urban South Africa.

air pollution

The urban environment and leisure physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic: a view from Lagos

In this commentary, we highlight five aspects of the ordinary – known interactions between urban environments and physical activity – that are amplified by the extraordinary – an unprecedented societal response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Using Lagos, Nigeria as a case study, we illustrate the possibility of re-thinking urban development and the potential for urban (re)form to address health inequalities in African megacities in the context of post-COVID-19 pandemic.

urban planning & development

Dr Tolullah Oni reimagines society after COVID-19

“We have lost our way with thinking about the purpose of cities,…we need to prioritise public health infrastructure”. In this interview with the International Science Council’s Global Science TV host Nuala Hafner, Oni et al. Principal, Tolullah Oni, explains what that means and how it could help avoid future global health crises.

The pandemic has hi-lighted the flaws in our urban infrastructure.
health foresight

How COVID has revealed the need for a rethink in urban planning

A global Marshall Plan to improve planetary health could safeguard the future of fast-growing cities, writes Tolullah Oni, a public health physician and urban epidemiologist.

She argues that reimagining urban planning decisions would reduce vulnerability to disease and improve health.

governance

WHO planetary health webinar

This first and very engaging webinar in a series hosted by the Global Health Governance: Building the Reset campaign, highlighted the importance of work on planetary health as the next frontier and integrated governance vision for the future. Around a hundred people participated in this dynamic online encounter, exploring the transformative potential of planetary health as a new compass for renovating health governance.

AFDB

A marshall plan for urban health in Africa’s cities: Harnessing urban infrastructure development post-COVID-19 to build resilient systems and policies for inclusive (human and planetary) health

Creating inclusive health will require a focus on systems for health, an umbrella term for factors and systems that determine health. Within this umbrella, the healthcare system, a necessary and vital component, is part of the broader systems of health that influence health such as urban

informality

Slum Health: Arresting COVID-19 and Improving Well-Being in Urban Informal Settlements

Here, we offer a set of practice and policy suggestions that aim to (1) dampen the spread of COVID-19 based on the latest available science, (2) improve the likelihood of medical care for the urban poor whether or not they get infected, and (3) provide economic, social, and physical improvements and protections to the urban poor, including migrants, slum communities, and their residents, that can improve their long-term well-being.

Prof Tolu Oni discusses how the world has changed and what challenges we might face post-COVID
urban planning & development

How has the world changed? Urban Health

The first in INGSA’s COVID-19 Video Series, that will be asking a diverse range of experts:

How has the world changed and what challenges will we face post-COVID?

Prof Tolu Oni discusses what has been revealed by the crisis, our need for ‘Emergency Health Foresight’, how preparedness is not enough, and what the world is at risk of un-learning in the wake of the crisis.

Scientists can teach us how to work across borders to solve global problems. Image: REUTERS/Joseph Campbell

Here’s how ‘science diplomacy’ can help us contain COVID-19

  • ‘Science diplomacy’, meaning international cooperation with science at its core, is the key to overcoming COVID-19.
  • Science paired with diplomacy can bring about unprecedented global change, as shown by the recovery of the ozone layer.
  • Building bridges between science and policy, and between countries, will help us solve the problems of today and tomorrow.
  • A new Lagos isolation and treatment center erected as an additional measure to handle the outbreak of the coronavirus in Lagos, Nigeria
    financing urban development

    Impact Investment’s Pandemic Challenge

    After every global emergency, those who extended support to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable usually snap back to “business as usual,” all but ensuring that the next crisis will be as severe as the last. This time must be different.

    Cuban and Venezuelan healthcare workers carry out a COVID-19 inspection in a Caracas slum Image: REUTERS/Manaure Quintero
    governance

    COVID-19 is showing us the link between human and planetary health

  • The damage we have done to our planet is having a direct impact on the spread and severity of COVID-19.
  • The global response, however, demonstrates our ability to work together.
  • By focusing collectively on our planetary health, we can ensure we are better prepared for the next health crisis.
  • A new Lagos isolation and treatment center erected as an additional measure to handle the outbreak of the coronavirus in Lagos, Nigeria
    health foresight

    This is the best time to plan for urban Africa’s next health emergency

    Health, it turns out, is everybody’s business. The Covid-19 pandemic has made this clear, laying bare the gaping cracks in our societal systems that have driven the emergence and unprecedented transmission of a novel coronavirus; and highlighting the need for a more health-aligned societal reset.

    Future Earth

    Earth day future earth talk

    This year marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22, to demonstrate support for environmental protection and represents a day of action to shift human behaviour and provoke policy changes. The very first celebration took place in 1970, and it has now grown to a staggering global event with celebrations in more than 193 countries involving over a billion people.

    The presenters highlighted that this pandemic is a result of a much larger global sustainability crisis, coming from human activities which have to radically change for a more healthy sustainable planet.

    Dr Oni focused on the integration of disparate domains into governance systems that serve human health and support sustainable cities.

    The LIRA project (2018–2020) team, led by Tolullah Oni
    urban planning & development

    Integrating health into human settlements policy (LIRA study)

    Using Cape Town, South Africa, and Douala, Cameroon, as case studies, this LIRA project (2018–2020), led by Tolullah Oni, seeks to develop a practical health and housing-integrated collaboration model that will improve urban policymaking and governance for the planning of African cities. The project brings together academic and non-academic stakeholders representing a range of expertise: public health, health geography, urban planning, and demography. The project contributes to SDG 3 and SDG 11.

    urban planning & development

    A Systematised Review of the Health Impact of Urban Informal Settlements and Implications for Upgrading Interventions in South Africa, a Rapidly Urbanising Middle-Income Country

    Informal settlements are becoming more entrenched within African cities as the urban population continues to grow. Characterised by poor housing conditions and inadequate services, informal settlements are associated with an increased risk of disease and ill-health. However, little is known about how informal settlement upgrading impacts health over time. A systematised literature review was conducted to explore existing evidence and knowledge gaps on the association between informal settlement characteristics and health and the impact of informal settlement upgrading on health, within South Africa, an upper-middle-income African country.

    UN High-Level Political Forum

    This video clip is from the full-length video (see link below) of Session 16: Science-policy interface and emerging issues, which took place on Friday, 14 July at the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York.

    An illustration using light blue, yellow, navy blue, beige and white, all colours synonymous with UrbanBetter and Oni et al