Since the first development of the concept of healthy urban planning in 1998, the work of the WHO Centre at UWE has broadened out into a wide range of research, consultancy, educational and publishing activities, in Britain and Europe.

In 2004, 'Phase 4' of the Healthy Cities programme made 'healthy urban planning' an obligatory part of health planning in member cities. The WHO Centre became central to the European effort, promoting a radical rethink of both health and planning priorities in many municipalities.

Assessing city progress

The World Health Organisation (WHO) Healthy Cities programme has been running since 1987, and is now in Phase VI. The WHO collaborating centre at UWE has been active in all phases and has been developing the agenda for Healthy Urban Planning. Phase 4 marked an important stage as Healthy Urban Planning was one of three core themes that cities must address.

During Phase 5, the WHO Collaborating Centre has been assessing cities' competence, as they join the programme, and progress, in subsequent years, in the field of Healthy Urban Environment. At the end of the phase, the Centre assisted in the evaluation and dissemination of the findings:

Healthy cities. Promoting health and equity – evidence for local policy and practice. Summary evaluation of Phase V of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network

The WHO Collaborating Centre is now assisting Phase VI of the Healthy cities programme. For instance, staff contribute with presentations, session chairing, training sessions and “surgeries” to Healthy Cities annual business conferences, for instance see 2015 Kuopio.

The UK Healthy Cities network

Most European nations also have national networks of healthy cities which include not only the cities designated by the WHO EHCN but other affiliated cities. In the UK, the national network was established in 2011 and has an active core membership of WHO designated healthy cities and is open to towns and cities across the UK.

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