Toward the Healthy City

From Urban and Industrial Environments

Toward the Healthy City

People, Places, and the Politics of Urban Planning

By Jason Corburn

A call to reconnect the fields of urban planning and public health that offers a new decision-making framework for healthy city planning.





A call to reconnect the fields of urban planning and public health that offers a new decision-making framework for healthy city planning.

In distressed urban neighborhoods where residential segregation concentrates poverty, liquor stores outnumber supermarkets, toxic sites are next to playgrounds, and more money is spent on prisons than schools, residents also suffer disproportionately from disease and premature death. Recognizing that city environments and the planning processes that shape them are powerful determinants of population health, urban planners today are beginning to take on the added challenge of revitalizing neglected urban neighborhoods in ways that improve health and promote greater equity. In Toward the Healthy City, Jason Corburn argues that city planning must return to its roots in public health and social justice. The first book to provide a detailed account of how city planning and public health practices can reconnect to address health disparities, Toward the Healthy City offers a new decision-making framework called “healthy city planning” that reframes traditional planning and development issues and offers a new scientific evidence base for participatory action, coalition building, and ongoing monitoring.

To show healthy city planning in action, Corburn examines collaborations between government agencies and community coalitions in the San Francisco Bay area, including efforts to link environmental justice, residents' chronic illnesses, housing and real estate development projects, and planning processes with public health. Initiatives like these, Corburn points out, go well beyond recent attempts by urban planners to promote public health by changing the design of cities to encourage physical activity. Corburn argues for a broader conception of healthy urban governance that addresses the root causes of health inequities.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262013314 296 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 10 b&w illus.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262513074 296 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 10 b&w illus.


  • Corburn's Toward the Healthy City shows us how to reunite urban planning and public health. This is the great partnership that was responsible for major advances in health in the early 20th century. As Corburn reveals, by recreating this partnership we can overcome health disparities, chronic disease, and other pressing health problems of our era. This book is a must for everyone interested in health, cities, planning and our planet's future.

    Mindy Thompson Fullilove

    Professor of Clinical Psychiatry and Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University

  • A wonderfully readable, incisive analysis of the common ground between planning and public health. Toward the Healthy City reminds us that both environmental and social determinants of health must be considered, and that physical, political, and institutional changes must all be on the agenda, if we are to achieve healthy cities for all, especially for the most vulnerable among us.

    Howard Frumkin

    Director, National Center for Environmental Health, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention