City Health International was founded in 2012 as a network of individuals and organisations engaged in the study of and response to structural health issues and health behaviours in the urban environment. Since then it has held an annual international conference, in a different location each year, examining current policy and practice in relation to public health and health behaviours in urban environments. It also uses social media to stimulate discussion and debate, ensuring it achieves the aim to be inclusive.
For the first time in history the majority of the world’s population now live in urban environments and the proportion continues to grow. As national governments struggle to deal with the pressures and demands of growing urban populations against a backdrop of financial deficits and uncertainty, it is increasingly left to those working at a city level to provide the leadership and support needed to tackle key health issues.
Much urban health research and planning has been focussed on the impact of the physical environment and has not been cross-sectoral, or multidisciplinary. Nor does it focus on how urban population health behaviours might be influenced to reduce morbidity and mortality and improve the quality of life, health and well-being.
The focus for the City Health conferences is on health and well-being. We concentrate on health behaviours – including alcohol and drug use, diet, sexual behaviour, violence – and the structural factors that affect health behaviours, including housing, migration and tourism; and we employ an ‘inclusive’ approach, engaging with NGOs, community projects, advocacy groups, as well as academics, policy makers and those who deliver services and interventions.
Previously managed by KAC Communications, since 2020 the activities have been managed by the Global Public Health Network