Healthy Cities through a multidisciplinary lens


Concepts like the 15-minute city are becoming buzzwords around the world – but how easy is it really for people new to healthy urban planning to evaluate their own cities with these ideas? Our Healthy Cities team hosted a workshop with colleagues from other departments within Bax & Company to see how people from different specialties engage with the latest version of our tool, and the results are promising.


Planning our urban environments for health can seem a bit daunting to someone who’s never encountered the science and literature before, but the Healthy City Generator invites new users to delve into the topic in an approachable way. With a brief introduction to our work in Healthy Cities and a look at the pressing health issues in our immediate surroundings , our colleagues instantly connected to the concepts on a personal level and started considering their own neighbourhoods in the framework of the Healthy Cities Generator.

The group found the health entry point to be particularly user-friendly, as many people already have a basic understanding of health trends (respiratory diseases, obesity, mental health, etc.) and selecting these priorities in the tool is straight-forward. 

The urban planning entry point was a bit more complex. Though our team had considered concepts like density and variety in the context of their own experiences of the city (i.e. how close the nearest supermarket is to home or how accessible the full range of services are for daily life), the terminology and definitions were new. Therefore, the team required some guidance on how to enter information about their built environment accurately.


Planning ahead for the next version of the Healthy Cities Generator, we asked our team what changes they think could enhance the tool’s value. One of the most popular, and most exciting, proposals was to expand further on each category of determinants, such as the mobility or green categories, with a module or sub-tool. This is a long-term ambition our team has held since we first began to develop the tool, and we look forward to steadily building this through our future work.

Some other suggestions we will be working on are adding a video guide to the tool, making navigation easier for first-timers, and including links to publications within the tool itself. This way, users can learn more about the logic behind the tool and the relationship between specific aspects of health and the urban environment, without any back-and-forth between our main website and the platform for our tool.


The more we apply the Healthy Cities Generator in new settings, the more we learn about adapting our approach to bring value to a city’s unique case. What would you like to see in the next iteration of the Healthy Cities Generator? If you’ve tried our tool or demo and have some ideas, or if you’re in need of a specific feature that you can’t find in existing urban planning tools, get in touch!