Designing for Urban Health and Well-being by Revisiting Proximity, Walkability, and Accessibility

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Can planning and design influence health and well-being in urban settings? Even though it was the public health issues faced by industrial cities that originally gave rise to the field of city planning, their paths have diverged over the years.However, how human settlements are planned, designed, and built can drastically improve or harm human health and well-being through factors that either promote or obstruct healthier lifestyles. Global organizations currently advocate city designs that enhance access to a wide range of resources and experiences for all. But how do we evaluate the successful translation of these goals into healthy, resilient, and socially cohesive human settlements and communities? This chapter revisits fundamental concepts of proximity, walkability, and accessibility that are omnipresent in planning and design directives for healthier communities. It critically examines prevailing conceptualizations and measures and offers alternative directions for operationalizations that accommodate the variety of human behaviours and the complex linkages between factors in the urban environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFuture Cities—City Futures
Subtitle of host publicationEmerging Urban Perspectives
EditorsChristian Veddeler, Joran Kuijper, Michal Gath-Morad, Iris van der Wal
Place of PublicationDelft
PublisherTU Delft OPEN Publishing
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9789463666428
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Urban health
  • Well-being
  • Proximity
  • Walkability
  • Accessibility
  • Environment


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