Integrating health in urban and territorial planning: A sourcebook

UN-Habitat and World Health Organization


Integrating health in urban and territorial planning is a sourcebook for urban planners, city managers, health professionals, and all those interested in the basis for our collective wellbeing. This sourcebook is the latest result of the close and longstanding collaboration between UN-Habitat and the World Health Organization, also demonstrated by the 2016 publication, Global report on urban health: equitable healthier cities for sustainable development.

The sourcebook – for urban leaders, health and planning professionals – provides the health dimension in the practice and implementation of urban and territorial planning. It is designed as a tool to assist national governments, local authorities, planning professionals, civil society organizations and health professionals, by helping to improve planning frameworks and practice through the incorporation of health considerations, at all levels of governance and across the spatial-planning continuum.

The sourcebook is meant to complement and support the implementation of the International. Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP) for improved environments and wellbeing. The guidelines, approved by the UN-Habitat Governing Council in 2015, are a set of universal planning principles for the improvement of planning and management at all levels. The IG-UTP advocate for urban and territorial planning as an integrated and participatory decision-making process to plan and manage our cities and territories in a holistic manner.

This sourcebook builds on the extensive work of the World Health Organization with regard to urban health and health across sectors, offering practical guidance on how to integrate health into urban planning and governance. It is a useful tool for those involved in implementing the United Nations’ New Urban Agenda, which sets global standards for sustainable urban development. It is a step further in the understanding that health is not only an outcome but also an essential input for urban and territorial planning, articulated in the 2016 World Health Organization document entitled Health as the pulse of the New Urban Agenda.