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Heart health: design cities differently and it can help us live longer

By 2050, it is projected that almost 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities, up from 55% today. The fastest urban growth is happening in Asia and Africa, which is also where we’re seeing a rapid rise in people suffering from, and dying of, heart disease.

Health is Everyone’s Business

Health is everyone’s business. When we talk about health, we think about hospitals, clinics and diseases that people have. But the vast majority of the factors and exposures that influence health lie outside of the healthcare sector. So while we subconsciously feel and act as

Rethinking Urban Health

The concept of planetary boundaries was developed to capture the ecological limits within which humanity can live sustainably in the long term. Globally, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, four planetary boundaries have already been exceeded: land-use change (with urbanisation), climate change, biodiversity loss and

For Thought Summit On Building A Resilient, Innovative And Prosperous Future For All

“Put future generations at the heart of our institutional and systems decision-making”.  That’s the top recommendation that emerged from the For Thought summit, organised by the British Science Association and partners.  The summit convened diverse leaders from business, policy, science and civil society, including UrbanBetter’s

Why we need to make planetary health part of city design

Several of the goals set out in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 in effect fall under the umbrella of planetary health as they aim to transform the health and wellbeing of the continent and provide a framework for inclusive sustainable cities. We just need a roadmap and an action plan.

In this commentary, UrbanBetter founder – Prof Oni – sets out the importance of making planetary health part of city design in Africa and the critical role of youth, innovative financing and visionary public leadership.

Read the commentary below:

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.

Photo by Tania Melnyczuk on Unsplash

Re-imagining Healthy Cities For People And Nature

If we could discount our future, would we act now, knowing that the decisions made now will shape the risk of emergencies for decades to come?

The commentary below explores a new strategy to health-proof the future of urban development.

Read the commentary below:

Twelve Months of COVID-19: Shaping the Next Era of Science Diplomacy

“Never before in living memory have the connections between our scientific world and our social world been quite so stark as they are today.” Dr. Alondra Nelson, Deputy Director-designate for Science and Society, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy1 COVID-19 is the first

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

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.


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


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’,

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

    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.

    Urban Health In Africa: A Critical Global Public Health Priority

    Abstract The African continent is predicted to be home to over half of the expected global population growth between 2015 and 2050, highlighting the importance of addressing population health in Africa for improving public health globally. By 2050, nearly 60% of the population of the

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