Physical Urban Environment

A. Quinn, D. Vlahov, D. Ompad, S. Galea

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


As the world's urban population begins to outnumber the rural population, the health effects of urbanization and urban living have recently been studied in greater depth. The physical urban environment has been singled out as one of the many determinants of urban health. The predominant features of the urban physical environment – housing, neighborhoods, roads and other transportation, and urban infrastructure – have been associated with health impacts. Because of the diversity of cities, and the great contrasts between cities of the less developed and developed worlds it is necessary to consider the impact on health in these cities separately. In the urban developed world, impacts of the urban environment on health are not always negative. In the urban less developed world, many issues, such as a lack of water and sanitation, have been noted as having significant impacts on a large proportion of the world's population. As the world continues to urbanize, both developed and less developed world cities will need to adapt to the pressures of climate change to reduce negative health impacts. Finally, specific interventions and best practices are discussed as examples for a potentially healthy urban future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Environmental Health, Volume 1-5
ISBN (Electronic)9780444522733
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Built environment
  • Climate change
  • Health equity
  • Housing
  • Less developed world
  • Neighborhood effects
  • Population health
  • Sanitation
  • Transportation
  • Urban health
  • Urban planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science


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