Urban sustainability and human health: an African perspective

Smit, W. & Parnell, S. (2012). Urban sustainability and human health: an African perspective. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 443–450

Cape Town
Publication type
Scientific article (peer-reviewed)
CityLab Programme
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Warren Smit Susan Parnell
Published year



Unsustainable urban development has a negative impact on human health. African cities already face huge demands with regard to human health and urban sustainability, and global environmental change will increase these challenges, making it even more imperative that human health and urban sustainability are simultaneously addressed in locally appropriate ways. Key areas of intersection include increased temperatures, drought, flooding, the decreased ability of ecosystems to provide health-enhancing services (clean air, water and soil) and increasing urban food insecurity. There are a range of strategies that can be used to improve urban resilience and sustainability while simultaneously improving human health. The key challenge, however, is transforming African urban governance systems, so that objectives such as sustainability and improved health can be met.

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