An ecological public health approach to understanding the relationships between sustainable urban environments, public health and social equity

Michael Bentley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The environmental determinants of public health and social equity present many challenges to a sustainable urbanism - climate change, water shortages and oil dependency to name a few. There are many pathways from urban environments to human health. Numerous links have been described but some underlying mechanisms behind these relationships are less understood. Combining theory and methods is a way of understanding and explaining how the underlying structures of urban environments relate to public health and social equity. This paper proposes a model for an ecological public health, which can be used to explore these relationships. Four principles of an ecological public health - conviviality, equity, sustainability and global responsibility - are used to derive theoretical concepts that can inform ecological public health thinking, which, among other things, provides a way of exploring the underlying mechanisms that link urban environments to public health and social equity. Theories of more-thanhuman agency inform ways of living together (conviviality) in urban areas. Political ecology links the equity concerns about environmental and social justice. Resilience thinking offers a better way of coming to grips with sustainability. Integrating ecological ethics into public health considers the global consequences of local urban living and thus attends to global responsibility. This way of looking at the relationships between urban environments, public health and social equity answers the call to craft an ecological public health for the twenty-first century by re-imagining public health in a way that acknowledges humans as part of the ecosystem, not separate from it, though not central to it.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)528-537
    Number of pages10
    JournalHealth Promotion International
    Volume29
    Issue number3
    Early online date2014
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014

    Keywords

    • Ecological health
    • Environmental justice
    • Public health model
    • Urban environments

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'An ecological public health approach to understanding the relationships between sustainable urban environments, public health and social equity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this