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Leading the healthy city: Taking advantage of the power of place

Hambleton, Robin


Creating healthy cities requires the exercise of bold city and community leadership. However, our understanding of the role of local leadership, from inside and outside the state, in bringing about processes that can co-create healthy, just and sustainable cities is not well developed. Notwithstanding this weakness in the world of academe, imaginative civic leaders in the world of practice – in a large number of cities and communities in many countries - are pioneering new forms of progressive, collaborative governance. This article aims to enhance understanding of these developments, and give support to them, by analysing: 1) The power of place, 2) The importance of place-based leadership in bringing about progressive change, and 3) The role of civic leadership in orchestrating processes of local social discovery. Cameos of inspirational civic leadership in three innovative cities – Malmö, Sweden, Portland, Oregon, USA and Bristol, UK – illustrate some of the possibilities. Suggestions on how to advance the leadership capacity of communities and cities are set out.


Hambleton, R. (in press). Leading the healthy city: Taking advantage of the power of place. Cities and Health,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 11, 2019
Online Publication Date Jan 7, 2020
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 8, 2021
Journal Cities and Health
Print ISSN 2374-8834
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords City leadership; healthy city; power of place; equity planning; international exchange
Public URL


Pre-publication - Leading The Healthy City Article December 2019 (929 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Cities and Health on 07 Jan 2020, available online:

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