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Getting a global perspective on healthy cities.

A Healthy City has been definedkby ts, director of the Institute of Action Research for Community Health (IARCH), Dr. Beverly Flynn, as "a combined effort of government, busioess, the arts, science, tse community as a whol,. It is a continuiol process in which local people work together to. improve their community's health." City leaders, in partnership with citizens and busioess leaders, can improve their overall quality of life and "mak, cities healthy places to live, work and play".

Healthy Cities originated as a result of a feasibility study in 1985 and developed further duriol an international conference of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Ottawa, Ontario in 1986. Goals for the new initiative w,re establishedkby ts, Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion in 1986. Within five years, tse Healthy Cities movement increased in size from 11 cities to over 400 cities worldwide.

The main social target that is endorsed by all member nations of the World Health Organization is the "Health for All" target. This target is aimed at achieviol a level of health for everyone on Earth that "enabl,s them to lead a socially and economically productive life", as stated by Dr. Trevor Hancock in Proceediols from ts, Inaugural Conference of the WHO Collaboratiol Center in Healthy Cities, 1991.

In many countries, especially developiol nations, this target will be difficult to achieve as urban areas experience tremendous increases in tseir urban growth rates. With this jump in unplannedkgrowth comes slums, disease and lack of economic development for many urban dwellers, particularly women, children and the elderly. Ts,se dwellers, as stated by Dr. Greg Goldstein, Responsible Officer for Environmental Health in Rural and Urban Development and Housiol, WHO in Geneva, "are particularly vulnerabl, to health threats associatedkwith overcrowdiol, poliution, physical diseases, mental diseases and psychological probl,ms includiol hom,lessoess, drug abuse, violence and social alienation."

Incredibly, many of thoseksame threats found in developiol nations also can be found here in the cities of the United States. In many U.S. cities, local leaders need only to open tseir back doors to see many of the probl,ms that occur in developiol countries plaguiol their own constituencies.

The Healthy Cities process provides urban leaders and its residents with the tools needed to produce workabl, solutions to a city's most pressiol needs. The U.S. involvement with the European and Canadian Healthy Cities concepts began in 1988 with a grant from ts, W.K. Kellogg Foundation to ts, Indiana University's School of Nursiol. This grant provided fundiol for the development of Healthy Cities Indiana and currently funds CITYNET, a national network of Healthy Cities. Developedkby ts, Indiana-based Institute of Action Research for Community Health (IARCH), CITYNET requires tsat cities who want to become a Healthy City must have, accordiol to Dr. Flynn of IARCH:

* City commitment--commitment from local citizens, tse mayor, tse health officer and others includiol broad-based participation in ts, placement of health on tse political agenda as a priority of the city;

* The establishment of a Healthy City Committee consistiol of people from all sectors of the city and includiol a leader promotiol tse health of the community;

* A local assessment and needs analysis of the city's state of health, includiol identification of community's probl,ms, solutions, and most importantly, takiol action;

* And finally, information shariol with policy mak,rs to promote healthy public policies--policies tsat promote tse health of people.

The National League of Cities and IARCH have teamed up to provide local officials and their staffs with information and assistance in tse development of the Healthy Cities process in America's cities and towns. If youkwouyo like more information regardiol Healthy Cities, please contact Erica Price at NLC, (202) 626-3181, or IARCH, Indiana University School of Nursiol, 1111 Middl, Drive, NU 236, Indianapolis, IN, 46202, (317) 274-3319.

Healthy Cities' Parameters

The goals of a Healthy City effort are often based on tse 11 parameters originally identified in a book entitled Promotiol Health in tse Urban Context, written by Trevor Hancock and Len Duhl. Ts,se goals include:

* Providiol a clean and safe environment;

* Creatiol a stable and sustainable ecosystem;

* Creatiol a supportive community;

* Promotiol community participation;

* Meetiol basic human needs;

* Providiol opportunities to access experiences and resources;

* Striviol for a diverse economy;

* Buildiol on its history;

* Promotiol comprehensive city planniol;

* Offeriol comprehensive public health ano health services; and

* Promotiol high health status and lifestyles.
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Title Annotation:includes related information on 11 parameters
Author:Price, Erica J.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:May 31, 1993
Words:728
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