The majority of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and according to the World Health Organization, the percentage is expected to rise to over 70 percent by the year 2050. There is a challenge in an era of urbanization to make sure cities are living up to their full potential and are creating conditions for healthy lives. As we pursue the ideals of making our work rigorous, relevant, and effective, partnerships within and beyond public health should inform the conversation and support the ongoing advancement of evidence. The Mailman School’s Urban+Health Initiative has an opportunity to articulate the importance of health for cities, and the ways that policies and infrastructure investments can support health alongside economic, ecological, and equity goals.
The Urban+Health Initiative’s mission is to leverage the knowledge and skills of the Mailman School, and the broader Columbia University community, to help support health for people living in cities throughout the world. We have a core commitment to protecting the health of vulnerable populations including those at each end of the age spectrum, groups that are socially or economically marginalized, and residents of informal settlements. Protecting the most vulnerable today will show the way forward to health and sustainable cities of the future.