Urban governance for health and well-being: a step-by-step approach to operational research in cities

Frahsa, Annika; Gonzalez-Jaramillo, Nathalia; Diaz, Catalina; Meyer, Sophie; Ben Abdelaziz, Faten; Nessiem Gawrgyous, Mervat; Anwar, Yasmine; Abel, Thomas; Armada, Francisco; Lin Lin, Vivian; Mercado, Susan; Somaini, Bertino (2023). Urban governance for health and well-being: a step-by-step approach to operational research in cities. Geneva: World Health Organization

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It has been estimated that, by 2050, more than two thirds of the world’s population will live
in cities (5). It is known, however, that intensive urban growth increases inequity and social
exclusion, which are associated with increased social, environmental, economic and health
risks (6). Public policies to address social determinants are therefore essential for urban
health (7, 8).

Urban governance determines how effectively urban inequities and risks are addressed.
Bad urban governance may harm societies, as the public policies usually fail to address
social and environmental determinants (9, 10), while good urban governance promotes
policies to improve health and well-being in the population (11). Cities are complex systems,
however, and the same public policies may have different effects in different populations,
because, beyond public policies, urban health outcomes also depend on the interactions
between governance, stakeholders and the population, requiring participatory governance
and consensus in policy-making (12, 13). Each context, indicator of performance and
implementation strategy is also different.

As the rapid global trend to urbanization continues, participatory urban governance has been
a topic of increasing research and interventions to improve health outcomes. Some studies
have been conducted to identify and evaluate indicators of participatory urban governance
(13–16), and others have analysed the results of policies for addressing health inequity (17–21).
Few studies, however, have examined participatory urban governance, public policies and
health outcomes together (22).

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, Diaz Rios, Catalina, Meyer, Sophie, Abel, Thomas


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 12:52

Last Modified:

24 Aug 2023 10:40

Additional Information:

This document was prepared for the World Health Organization (WHO) by Professor Dr Annika Frahsa, Dr Nathalia Gonzalez-Jaramillo, Dr Catalina Díaz and Ms Sophie Meyer at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Bern University, Switzerland. Development of this document 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 978-92-4-007303-6 (electronic version)
ISBN 978-92-4-007304-3 (print version)





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