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Healthy cities, diseasogenic cities and the Global South

Rice, Louis


Louis Rice
Associate Professor in Architecture


Antonio Augusto Rossotto Ioris


There are growing urban health issues globally, whereby social and environmental living conditions in cities and towns are contributing to poor health outcomes. As the Global South is predicted to house almost all new cities and the majority of all urban growth on the planet by the middle of this century, the impact of these Southern cities on human health will be significant. At present the empirical evidence and theoretical narratives point to these new urban centres as contributors to the growth of ill-health and diseases, known as ‘diseasogenic cities’. In response, there is a growing awareness and urgency of the need to create ‘healthy cities’ that support wellbeing and better health outcomes for inhabitants. This chapter critically examines the emergence of diseasogenic cities and the implementation of Healthy City strategies in the Global South. Healthy City strategies have been critiqued on a number of fronts, including as an iteration of developmentalism; as a form of colonialism and due to high levels of inequality they are failing for too many of their population. There is a need for improved urban health in the Global South context, particularly in a period of such unprecedented growth; the chapter ends by setting out a potential roadmap on how Healthy City strategies in the Global South might be implemented. The way forward requires radical rethinking of the urban Global South ranging from embracing alternative ontologies and epistemologies, local knowledge and societal/behaviour change, through to practical solutions for delivering context-specific sanitation and healthcare.


Rice, L. (2021). Healthy cities, diseasogenic cities and the Global South. In A. A. R. Ioris (Ed.), Environment and Development: Challenges, Policies and Practices (37-65). Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.

Acceptance Date Jan 6, 2020
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Feb 3, 2021
Pages 37-65
Book Title Environment and Development: Challenges, Policies and Practices
Chapter Number 2
ISBN 9783030554156
Keywords Global South; healthy cities; diseasogenic cities; development; urban health.
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