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Review of indicator frameworks supporting urban planning for resilience and health


Public health and its links to urban planning, risk management, natural capital and the built environment of cities have become more relevant than ever in recent years. As Europe continues to grow increasingly urban, it faces new health-related challenges triggered by many factors, including demographic changes, migration dynamics, economic growth, environmental pressures, climate emergency and the recent COVID-19 crisis. This wide range of health risk drivers and internal pressures renders urban systems fragile, with a negative impact on the quality of life and well-being of citizens.

This study evaluates the relevance and applicability of existing urban indicators for building more resilient and healthy cities through urban planning. To provide a more holistic perspective of urban health risks, it uses the concept of "urban resilience" as a new way of planning cities to prevent, prepare for, mitigate and adapt to not only shocks but also stresses and challenges, with the aim of building resilience through better information collection, policies, plans and initiatives. Since indicators and data are crucial to assess and manage urban health risks, as they provide essential evidence-based information that facilitates decision-making and action-taking, this study addresses several questions: Are existing indicator frameworks assessing current urban systemic vulnerabilities related to urban planning, resilience and health? Are they reflecting urban trends and their links with health risks? Could they assist local actors in identifying priority areas for action and provide guidance on how to improve urban planning and preparedness to enhance health and resilience?

The analysis focuses on six frameworks, selected for assessment based on their relevance to the topic and scale, political and regional significance, public availability and variety: the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators (including links with the Sendai Framework and Paris Agreement); the New Urban Agenda Monitoring Framework and related indicators; the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities and its Public Health System Resilience Addendum; the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicators for resilient cities; the Risk Systemicity Questionnaire; and the ThinkHazard! tool.

The assessment approach is systemic and analyses the relationship of indicators to:

  • the current state of the urban environment – this identifies existing vulnerabilities and priority areas; and
  • risk-oriented urban planning and interventions of the city – this provides an idea of how cities prepare for and/or mitigate the impacts of hazards.

A secondary analysis examines the opportunities for local implementation of each framework.

Reference information

WHO Regional Office for Europe

Published in Climate-ADAPT Jun 27 2022   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Dec 12 2023

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