HeLP – Health and Land-Use Planning

Integrated urban health assessment of the built environment

Urban areas are the places were the majority of people live, and will continue to live; at the same time, the built environment plays a fundamental role for our health and wellbeing, what makes the relation between spatial planning and public health a strategic research area. However, despite the evidence on how urban contexts impact on health outcomes, it is still difficult to deliver appropriate, «healthy» environments to the whole of the urban populations. In fact, health benefits are not distributed equally in space, varying between cities and even between neighborhoods. While governments pursuit economic growth and development, the quality of life seems to play a secondary role: it is seen either as a constraint, or as a spontaneous product of wealth. In this context, the use of town-planning as a public health strategy most often appears not only as a costly approach, but also a politically complex solution, as it can only deliver long-term results.

The objective of this project is to assess how healthy the urban environment can be, and how much public health is taken into account in planning processes. The evaluation of urban health is necessary to take into advocacy health during the decision-making process and translate research into practice. The evaluation of urban heath is supported by geo-referenced big-data on population health to identify priorities and their location. The planning processes are analysed to model how their decision-making processes deal with health. This multidisciplinary assessment of urban contexts and planning processes allows thus a screening prediction of health impacts introduced by projects and policies.

Scientific Outputs


Healthy urban planning Spatial dependence of body mass index and exposure to night-time noise


Learning to plan healthier cities with precise data

Body Mass Index and Insomnia association with exposure to nighttime noise in the state of Geneva

Healthy Urban Planning: Body Mass Index association with exposure to night-time noise in the canton of Geneva

General information

Team: Andrea Salmi, Jérôme Chenal, Idris Guessous & Stéphane Joost

Contact: [email protected]

Funding: cantons of Western Switzerland