Urban Communities

“Urban” communities can be defined in different ways, but generally, an urban area is a region surrounding a city. Urban communities have drawn and continue to attract many people—cities provide many benefits to residents, including proximity to work, recreational activities, access to health care, and public transportation. However, there are health problems associated with living in urban communities, including higher rates of poor nutrition, pollution-related health conditions and communicable diseases, poor sanitation and housing conditions, and related health conditions. Urbanization is also linked to high rates of depression, anxiety, and mental ill health. All of these have direct impacts on quality of life and strain public health systems and resources.  More than 300 metropolitan areas in America have a population above 100,000.

As cities grow and thrive, urban populations have access to more resources and better health care, but at the same time, health disparities are often more stark in urban areas. Lower-income, non-white residents of dense and diverse urban neighborhoods are disproportionately affected. People of lower socioeconomic status are disproportionately placed at a disadvantage to absorb negative impacts from urbanization; for instance, places where poor residents live often fall outside city compliance for safety. Unemployment and underemployment are typically higher for the urban poor, and many face not only low wages, but also a lack of social insurance and unsafe working conditions.

Cities can bolster residents’ financial security, which will foster capital flow and lead residents to spur economic growth and improve overall living standards. Strategies to increase equitable well-being in urban areas include: eradicating poverty through promoting development and job creation, fostering social inclusion and non-discrimination, expanding affordable housing and health care, promoting healthy environments and more green space, and reducing air pollution. Ensuring residents have clean drinking water, sanitation, drainage, paved roads and paths, solid waste collection is important. Collaborative planning involves urban planners, policymakers, healthcare professionals, community organizations, and residents in efforts to improve urban communities and population health. Taking a Health In All Policies (HiAP) approach and engaging in joint decision-making ensures that urban development projects consider health impacts and prioritize community well-being.  

Resources & Tools


Screen capture of The Past, Present, and Future of Community Development article
The Past, Present, and Future of Community Development
Resource
Brought to you by Shelterforce
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Crook County Master Plan which includes icons related to the following: active transportion; general population; Urban; Primary research; basic needs for health and safety
Crook County Master Plan
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Cover page of Urban Green Spaces and Health report
Urban Green Spaces and Health
Resource - Report
Brought to you by WHO
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Kitsap County Transportation Improvement Program Project which includes icons related to the following: active transportation; Urban; Primary research; reliable transportation
Kitsap County Transportation Improvement Program Project
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan which includes icons related to the following: belonging and civic muscle; urban communities; Urban; Qualitative research; belonging and civic muscle
Mid-South Regional Greenprint and Sustainability Plan
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 05/31/2014
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Evaluation of Landfill and Waste-to-Energy Options for Managing Municipal Solid Waste which includes icons related to the following: built environment; urban communities; Quantitative research;
Evaluation of Landfill and Waste-to-Energy Options for Managing Municipal Solid Waste
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 06/30/2017
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Topeka Bike Share which includes icons related to the following: active transportation; Urban; Mixed methods; reliable transportation
Topeka Bike Share
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Potential Costs and Health Benefits of Parks After Dark which includes icons related to the following: parks, Incarceration, physical activity, neighborhood safety, meaningful work and wealth; children and youth, justice-involved populations, people living in poverty, urban communities; Urban; Mixed methods; belonging and civic muscle, basic needs for health and safety, basic needs for health and safety, basic needs for health and safety, meaningful work and wealth
Parks After Dark
Resource - Assessment
First page of Urban Health Agenda: Protecting and Promoting the Well-being of Our Nation’s Big Cities Building Healthier, More Equitable Communities
Urban Health Agenda
Resource - Report
Brought to you by BCHC
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled North Avenue Corridor in Burlington, Vermont which includes icons related to the following: active transportation; urban communities; Urban; Qualitative research; reliable transportation
North Avenue Corridor in Burlington, Vermont
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 05/31/2014
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Globeville and Elyria Swansea Neighborhood Plan HIA which includes icons related to the following: complete communities; urban communities; Urban; Mixed methods;
Globeville and Elyria Swansea Neighborhood Plan HIA
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 01/01/2014
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled South Thornton Revitalization Subarea Plan which includes icons related to the following: nutrition; Urban; Mixed methods; basic needs for health and safety
South Thornton Revitalization Subarea Plan
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Baltimore Red Line which includes icons related to the following: built environment; urban communities; Urban; Primary research;
Baltimore Red Line
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 01/02/2008
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Spokane Downtown Plan Update: Pedestrian Strategy which includes icons related to the following: built environment; Urban; Qualitative research
Spokane Downtown Plan Update: Pedestrian Strategy
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Alcohol Outlet Density in the Greenbush-Vilas Neighborhood, Madison, Wisconsin which includes icons related to the following: substance use; urban communities; Urban; Mixed methods; basic needs for health and safety
Alcohol Outlet Density in the Greenbush-Vilas Neighborhood, Madison, Wisconsin
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Tempe Modern Streetcar which includes icons related to the following: active transportation; people with chronic and multiple chronic health conditions; Urban; Qualitative research; reliable transportation
Tempe Modern Streetcar
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Metro Westside Subway Extension (Wilshire Corridor) which includes icons related to the following: active transportation; urban communities; Urban; Primary research; reliable transportation
Metro Westside Subway Extension (Wilshire Corridor)
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 01/01/2012
First page of U.S. Cities Factsheet
U.S. Cities Factsheet
Resource - Fact Sheet
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled SE 122nd Ave Pilot Project/East Portland which includes icons related to the following: belonging and civic muscle; Urban; Primary research; belonging and civic muscle
SE 122nd Ave Pilot Project/East Portland
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled San Diego Bus Rapid Transit Station which includes icons related to the following: active transportation; urban communities; Urban; Primary research; reliable transportation
San Diego Bus Rapid Transit Station
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Published on 12/31/2012
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Portland to Lake Oswego Transit Project which includes icons related to the following: active transportation; Urban; Qualitative research; reliable transportation
Portland to Lake Oswego Transit Project
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Tumalo Community Plan which includes icons related to the following: built environment; Urban; Mixed methods
Tumalo Community Plan
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Screen capture of Public Transportation in the U.S.: A Driver of Health and Equity
Public Transportation in the U.S.: A Driver Of Health and Equity
Resource - Policy Brief
Brought to you by Health Affairs
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Hartford Neighborhood Revitalization and Sustainability Plan which includes icons related to the following: neighborhood safety; urban communities; Urban; Primary research; basic needs for health and safety
Hartford Neighborhood Revitalization and Sustainability Plan
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Graphic depicting key elements of the Health Impact Assessment Report entitled Savannah's Tide to Town Urban Trail System which includes icons related to the following: active transportation; suburban communities; Urban; GIS mapping; reliable transportation
Savannah's Tide to Town Urban Trail System
Resource - Assessment
Brought to you by Health Impact Project
Cover page of Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Design and Development
Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Design and Development
Resource - Guide/handbook
Brought to you by EPA
Screen capture of Public Transportation Is a Human Right article
Public Transportation Is a Human Right
Story - Written
Brought to you by Jacobin
Published on 07/03/2020
Screen capture of How Struggling Dayton, Ohio, Reveals the Chasm Among American Cities
How Struggling Dayton, Ohio, Reveals the Chasm Among American Cities
Story - Written
Brought to you by ProPublica
Screen capture of The Vertical Farm
The Vertical Farm
Story - Written
Brought to you by TNY
Screen capture of City Life Is Too Lonely. Urban Planning Can Help. article
City Life Is Too Lonely. Urban Planning Can Help.
Story - Written
Brought to you by Bloomberg L.P.
Published on 12/14/2023
Screenshot of At Last, Detroit Sees Population Grow, New Estimates Show
At Last, Detroit Sees Population Grow, New Estimates Show
Story - Written
Brought to you by NYT
Staff Pick!
Urban Diabetes Toolbox

 Related Topics


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Transportation

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Food Access

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Community Design

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Hospitals and Healthcare Institutions

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Affordable Housing

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Clean Air

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Mental and Behavioral Health

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Urban Communities