module specification

SH7003 - Health in the City (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18, but may be subject to modification
Module title Health in the City
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Oral Examination 25%   Oral Presentation / Discussion Paper
Coursework 75%   4000 word essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Thursday Evening

Module summary

This multi-disciplinary module examines health and health care in urban settings. It focuses on the notions of urban health crisis, urban health penalty and urban health advantage which are examined by reference to London and other selected “global” and "world cities". It explores the significance for health and health care of London and other world cities by focusing at their position as global cities as the starting point. Hence, students will examine health challenges experienced in London and other world cities by patients, communities, health workers, service providers and local authorities against a background of globalization. The module uses a public health approach grounded in the impact of social and economic factors on health exemplified in the work of the London Health Improvement Board and WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health. The module highlights urban and public health issues and inequalities in health status amongst population groups and communities within urban settings. In addition, it analyses the outstanding factors that create differences in health and healthcare systems between global / world cities in the developed and developing world. Therefore, it provides an opportunity for students to develop skills underpinned by global citizenry and attributes that will enable them to engage critically with the process of formulating policy in relation to shifting public health agendas towards health promotion and health care improvement in urban settings in the context of globalisation.

Module aims

This module aims to:
• Examine the notions of urban health crisis and urban health disadvantage by using reference material from selected global / world cities that include London.
• Understand the significance for health and healthcare of London's and other global cities' "world city" status.
• Grasp the impact of social and economic factors on the health of global / world city dwellers.
• Engage critically with public health materials regarding the health of global / world city dwellers, including policy formulation process in relation to shifting agendas towards health improvement in urban settings.
• Create an understanding of the differences in health, health policy and health-care systems between global / world cities in the developed and developing world against a background of contemporary globalisation.
• Provide students with an opportunity to develop skills to get to grips with specific public health issues in relation to specific population groups in given cities.
• Critically analyse the influence of various international and national policies on health promotion practice within urban settings.


The module programme will concentrate on the following five main areas:
1. The controversy, principles and context of health in urban settings and global cities
2. The frameworks of analysing health in urban settings
3. The determinants of health in urban settings and global cities
4. The organisation of healthcare services and health resources in cities
5. Interventions and strategies to promote health in urban settings
6. Planning and impact assessment in urban settings
7. Future healthy cities and the influence of globalisation on health in the city
The module will engage with theoretical concepts and principles of health in urban settings. In addition, it will look at practical aspects of managing health resources, developing primary and public health, health planning and promotion, and ways of mitigating and accommodating globalisation, migration and diversity in urban settings. It demonstrates practical problems and strategies by extensively drawing real examples from both the developed and developing world, enhancing students’ global consciousness.

Learning and teaching

This module will use both lectures and interactive methods of learning and teaching. Students will be required to read set texts and articles and to discuss these in class. There will be two opportunities for each participant to give brief presentations on work-in-progress of their assessment task at the beginning and towards the end of the programme. Additional resources will be available online via WebLearn. Participants have to make sure they are registered for this module in order to access material on WebLearn. Module staff will be available to provide online (via WebLearn), face-to-face (contact), telephone and email support to students on the Module during and outside timetabled sessions.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Show evidence of an understanding of the notion of urban health crisis, and the impact of socio-economic and other (especially living and working) conditions on the health of Londoners and other global / world city dwellers.
2. Demonstrate a comparative understanding of the long-standing problems of health and health service planning in London and other global / world cities.
3. Demonstrate grasp of links between cities’ (including London's) position as a "world or global city" and the health and healthcare of residents and visitors.
4. Identify and analyse the outstanding factors and changes that are creating differences in health, health policy and healthcare systems between global cities in the developed and developing world against a background of globalisation.
5. Demonstrate grasp of associations between health status and access to socio-economic resources outside of the formal medical system; and skills that enable critical engagement with the process of formulating policy in relation to shifting agendas towards health improvement in urban settings.
6. Show ability to describe, analyse and evaluate key texts, current social science journal articles, "grey" materials and official documents on health and healthcare in London and other global / world cities.
7. Incorporate the above learning outcomes in a well-presented written account, maintaining academic conventions, of how to get to grips with one health issue, in relation to a population group in a given city or on a given patch of London

Assessment strategy

Module assessment is divided into two components:
(1) An oral presentation of not more than 20 minutes, examining an urban health issue in London or another chosen city. This presentation will be marked at 25% of the overall module mark and will be due in Week 9.
(2) An extended coursework essay of 4,000 words on a chosen urban health issue for a particular population group on a specific London patch or in another chosen city. This carries 75% of overall module mark. Students who prefer to investigate health issues within London or New York should choose a specific patch / borough. The coursework will have to use public health reporting materials. It will indicate how the city context influences the urban health issue under investigation. It will also have to consider how current policy and legislation present opportunities and problems to address the issue. This will be considered in light of attempts to develop a strategic approach to health and healthcare within that city or the London borough chosen. The essay is to be handed-in in Week 14.


ACT (2010) ACT Strategic Plan for Positive Ageing 2010-2014: Towards an Age-Friendly City. Canberra (Australia): ACT Government.
Barer R, Davies H and Fitzpatrick J (2003) Health in London. London: LHC.
Corburn J (2009) Toward the healthy city: people, places, and the politics of urban planning. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Federation of Canadian Municipalities; Metropolis Project (2004) Our diverse cities. Ottawa: Metropolis Project, Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
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London Health Commission (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006/7) Health in London reports (published in London by the Greater London Authority; examine different aspects of health in the capital).
London Health Commission (2004) Health in London: focus on health of London’s black and minority ethnic communities.  London: Greater London Authority
London Health Commission (2010) Mayor's Health Inequalities Strategy. [Online] Available at:
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UN Habitat (2003) Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities: Local Action for Global Goals. Geneva: UN Human Settlements Programme/Earth Scan.
UN-HABITAT (2010) State of the World's Cities 2010/2011 - Cities for All: Bridging the Urban Divide. [Online] Available at: publicationID=2917
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Globalization and Health
Journal of Urban Health by New York Academy of Medicine; New York: Springer
Journal of Public Health Policy
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