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.


Planetary health conversations on building healthy sustainable diseases in the era of COVID-19 and beyond.

“The greatest threat to positive societal reset is not the challenges of the present but a stagnant mindset of impossibility.”

The inaugural Making the #UrbanBetter conversation, a joint event of University of Cambridge Wolfson College’s Global health and Sustainability and Conservation hubs, was convened on the 14th September to accelerate societal re-imagination of a different future, and to catalyse action to address health, social and planetary inequalities.

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.


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.

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.

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.

Blogs and

RICHE: Africa Workshop on Healthy Cities:
Intersectoral approaches to non-communicable disease prevention in Africa.
Held 2-4 December 2019, STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Africa is experiencing a double burden of disease. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like high blood pressure, obesity, and heart disease are overshadowing the gains recorded in communicable disease prevention.

But cities in Africa also represent an opportunity to take the lead on re-thinking strategies to turn the tide of this emerging NCD epidemic.

This workshop, which built on the LIRA study, foregrounded intersectoral approaches and the importance of prevention, in particular, the prevention of non-communicable diseases in African cities through investments that support active living and healthy diets.

In attendance were representatives from several cities in Africa including Cape Town, Dakar, Douala, Accra, Lagos, Kampala, Harare and Maputo.

Science needs more “academic hybrids”: scientists who buck the stereotype of working in silos. This way of thinking must be broken…

January 17, 2017

 How are population patterns changing in South Africa? What role do our different environments play in contributing to our health? Are cities making us sick? Whose job is it to promote health and prevent disease?

February 27, 2017

As the effects of COVID-19 are being felt around the world, now is the time to think about what kind of society we want to see recover from the pandemic…

August 11, 2020

Social media

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.

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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