Our purpose
UrbanBetter is a learning collaborative and advocacy platform connecting and mobilising individuals, communities and organisations for healthy sustainable urban environments.
What we do

Imagine an Africa-led global movement in which every citizen is a custodian of planetary health with the agency to aspire, inspire and conspire for access to healthy sustainable environments and choices.

We foster shared learning of promising urban health practices and knowledge exchange to equip change agents with the necessary tools. Through our blogs and social media campaigns, we also raise awareness of the importance of urban environments for health, and connect and activate youth as key drivers of positive change for healthy sustainable cities.


The Africa Action Group of the International Society for Urban Health (ISUH) brings together scholarly, government, non-governmental, private sector and community-based actors in/of the African continent to exchange knowledge and practices to advance urban health and promote health equity in the region.  

We hold virtual exchanges on a regular basis with participants and invited speakers sharing their experiences of intersectoral action for urban health. Each session, pre-identified lead discussants, sets the scene for interactive discussions by sharing a case study/project, which could be research, advocacy, policy or promising practice that illustrates intersectoral collaboration approaches on a thematic topic area.

We also aim to provide training to equip participants with transdisciplinary research collaboration tools to integrate health into urban policy and practice.

Urban Better is pleased to host resources and information on these events.

The LIRA project (2018–2020) team, led by Tolullah Oni

The LIRA study explores the knowledge, attitudes and practices of intersectoral collaboration between health and human settlements sectors among policymakers in Cape Town and Douala.

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.

The ALPhA study explores ways that public space is being appropriated for physical activity in Lagos, Nigeria and Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Over 2 years, the project aims to understand the types of ALPhA spaces that exist, the experiences of ALPhAs, and air pollution, safety and injury risk exposures. The interdisciplinary team members come from across fields urban planning, public health, chemistry, engineering and economics are all represented.

GDAR teams up with NCD Alliance and BBC StoryWorks as part of short film series

They’re the world’s biggest killers. Non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes account for 70 percent of all deaths.

But many of these diseases can be prevented and the suffering from their effects reduced. Turning the Tide is a series of short films about the bold actions being carried out by communities and organisations to take on NCDs. The stories are about the small and significant changes being made for better, healthier lives.

The Global Diet and Activity Research Group and Network (GDAR) is funded through the NIHR Global Health Research initiative. The goal is to help prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancers, in low and middle income countries (LMICs).

Our work involves finding solutions that are affordable and created in partnership with local communities.

GDAR builds on the expertise and knowledge of research in Cameroon, the Caribbean, Kenya, South Africa and the UK.


In the 16th episode of the University of Cambridge Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP) series on science, policy and pandemics, CSaP Executive Director Dr Rob Doubleday was joined by VK Madhavan, Dr Tolullah Oni, and Professor Ash Amin. They explored how public health understandings of cities, and broader understandings of how people live in cities, are being highlighted and challenged by our current experience of the covid-19 pandemic.
Photo by bill wegener on Unsplash

Progress Overall is Not Progress for All: How Can We Reset African Urban Systems for a Healthier post-COVID World?​

by: Kareem Buyana 

“In this piece, I’ll share three reflections that could inform future efforts to improve urban health and help cities to be better prepared for future pandemics.”

With the onset of the pandemic, given the diverse characteristics of cities across a historically and demographically distinct continent, the critical question in my mind is: building on these past experiences, what have we learned that we should retain and that the world could learn from, to improve urban health?

Blogs and

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.

In November 2020, the Falling Walls Foundation convened a roundtable of experts, including UrbanBetter’s Tolullah Oni, to explore what systemic racism means.

November, 2020

“What was done right and what has gone wrong in pandemic responses to date?”

May 20, 2021

The Health Emergency of Climate Change series brought together leading healthcare experts to discuss the impact climate change is having on human health. 

May 18, 2021

Social media



Africa Day 2021 was the 25th May!

We celebrated with a daily countdown from 01 May featuring work by individuals, organisations and governments in cities creating healthier, sustainable environments.

Catch up on all 24 featured cities across Africa making the #UrbanBetter.

Get in touch

Want to get involved?

UrbanBetter is an Africa-focused global movement that recognises every citizen as a custodian of planetary health with the agency to aspire, inspire and conspire for access to healthy sustainable environments and choices.

We do this through our advocacy and activism that raises awareness of the importance of cities for health and the role of science in supporting development and evaluation of innovative solutions to create healthy cities.

Join our mission

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