Urban form and health of citizens in the era of pandemics. Case study of Lodz downtown

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Submission Summary
Urban form affects citizens’ health in numerous direct and indirect ways. The current paper focuses on the relationships between urban health and forms of urban structures. The goal is to identify the criteria for the evaluation of physical forms, such as forms of streets and open spaces, the presence of green infrastructures (GI) and density of built structures. In the current situation of the pandemic, the general interest in health issues has significantly raised. Defining what exact factors and features of urban form affect citizens health got mainstream. First, the positive impact of urban greenery on citizens health has been proven by numerous research (Elmqvist et al. 2013, Bowler et al. 2010). Greenery reduces local temperatures due to evapotranspiration, provides shade and reflects solar radiation. At the same time, it absorbs air pollutants (Hartig et al. 2014). Parks, gardens and street vegetation reduce noise levels, offer space for physical activities and social life, reduces stress and helps to relax (Marselle et al. 2019). Other positive health impacts are related to water management predicaments, either in the situation of flooding or water deficits, which both worsen due to climate change. Moreover, vegetation contributes to buffering climate change risks. Second, forms of streets and open spaces, including the availability of infrastructure for various modes of mobility, the share of open space in the built environment and the densities of the latter - all this contributes to the shaping of individual lifestyles and impacts both healthy environment and the quality of life (WHO 2014, Thomson, Newman 2018). The current paper uses the qualitative and quantitative assessment and typo-morphological approach to evaluate the rehabilitation strategy and ongoing transformations of the downtown of Lodz, Poland. The town participates for several years in the Healthy Cities program by WHO; these considerations are thus even more valid. The methodology to be applied assumes the analyses of the urban features and projects against the established framework, which comes from the analysis of the research concerning healthy urban environments. References Bowler DE et al. (2010) Urban greening to cool towns and cities: a systematic review of the empirical evidence. Landscape Urban Plan 97:147–155 Elmqvist T et al (eds) (2013) Urbanization, biodiversity and ecosystem services: challenges and opportunities: a global assessment. (Springer, Dordrecht). Hartig T et al. (2014) Nature and health. Annual Revision. Public Health 35:207–228. Marselle, R. M. et al (eds) (2019) Biodiversity and Health in the Face of Climate Change, Springer. Thomson, G and Newman, P (2018) Urban fabrics and urban metabolism – from sustainable to regenerative cities, Resources, Conservation and Recycling. Elsevier B.V., 132: 218–229. World Health Organization (2014) The Urban Health Index – A Handbook for its Calculation and Use. Kobe, Japan.
Submission ID :
Submission Type
Submission Track
6: Creating Healthy and Inclusive Urban Environment
Associate Professor
Technical University of Lodz
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