Good urban governance for health and well-being: a systematic review of barriers, facilitators and indicators

Frahsa, Annika; Gonzalez Jaramillo, Nathalia; Ben Abdelaziz, Faten; Nessiem Gawrgyous, Mervat; Anwar, Yasmine; Abel, Thomas; Diaz Rios, Catalina; Franco, Oscar H; Mesa, Cristina; Meyer, Sophie; Menassa, Marilyne; Pano, Octavio; Phori, Peter; Eijkemans, Gerry; Good, Suvajee; ElFeky, Samar (2023). Good urban governance for health and well-being: a systematic review of barriers, facilitators and indicators. Geneva: World Health Organization

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Rapid, unplanned urbanization is one of the major ecological and human challenges of the
21st century. UN Habitat predicts that, by 2050, nearly 70% of the world’s population will be
living in cities, with disproportionate urban growth in low- and middle-income countries (10).
While cities offer opportunities for employment and access to better public services, they also
pose major health risks. Good local governance is critical for achieving the 2030 Agenda, and
countries must strive to ensure that their cities are creating and improving their physical and
social environments and their community resources to enable people to support each other
and to develop to their maximum potential.

Building on good practices in the WHO Healthy Cities programme, the World Health
Organization (WHO) has identified health promotion in urban and local settings as critical to
achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and health equity. The WHO and UN
Habitat 2016 Global report on urban health concluded that good urban governance – notably
the role of city governments and strong leardership – is key to ensuring health equity and the
health and well-being of their citizens (10).

WHO contracted the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland,
to review the evidence on two issues that are central to health promotion: achieving good
governance for health and well-being, understood as participatory governance built on
multisectoral action and civic engagement; and measuring the impact of governance on
urban health outcomes. The aim of the systematic review was to identify barriers to and
facilitators of multisectoral action and civic engagement and to suggest validated indicators
and tools for assessing the processes and outcomes of participatory governance for health,
equity and well-being in urban settings from published scientific evidence.

Findings from the systemic review informed the development of the Urban governance for
health and well-being: a step-by-step approach to conducting operational research in cities.

Item Type:

Book (Monograph)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS)

UniBE Contributor:

Frahsa, Annika, Gonzalez Jaramillo, Nathalia, Abel, Thomas, Diaz Rios, Catalina, Franco Duran, Oscar Horacio, Mesa Vieira, Cristina, Meyer, Sophie, Menassa, Marilyne, Pano Espinola, Octavio


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services


World Health Organization




Beatrice Minder Wyssmann

Date Deposited:

23 Aug 2023 12:30

Last Modified:

24 Aug 2023 07:18

Additional Information:

This systematic review was prepared for the World Health Organization (WHO) by Professor Dr Annika Frahsa and Dr Nathalia González Jaramillo at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland. Development of this review was coordinated by Dr Faten Ben Abdelaziz with the support of Dr Mervat Nessiem Gawrgyous and Ms Yasmine Anwar of the Health Promotion Department, Enhanced Well-being unit, WHO headquarters.

ISBN 978-92-4-007419-4 (electronic version)
ISBN 978-92-4-007420-0 (print version)




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