module specification

SH6001 - Urban Health (2020/21)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2020/21
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Urban Health
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Professions
Total study hours 300
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
18 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
210 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 35%   Urban health profile
Coursework 65%   Report
Running in 2020/21

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Morning

Module summary

 The module aims are:
• To introduce the notion of urban health crisis and the controversy of health and healthcare in urban settings
• To identify key trends in the patterns of health and healthcare in urban settings
• To consider the impact of urban conditions (wider determinants of health) on the health of Londoners and other urban dwellers elsewhere
• To examine key challenges to the organisation and delivery of healthcare services in London and other global cities in the backdrop of globalisation
• To understand relevant policy developments in relation to health and healthcare in London and other urban settings


 The module programme will concentrate on the following five main themes:
1. theory, concepts, controversy and principles of health in urban settings
2. context and wider determinants of health in urban settings and global cities
3. resources for health and healthcare services in urban settings and global cities
4. local, national and international policy initiatives for health and healthcare in global and other urban settings
5. promoting the health of various population groups in urban settings All LO1-4

Topics covered in the module include:
Theory and concepts of health in urban settings
The notion of urban health crisis
The Sick City hypothesis and controversy of health and healthcare in urban settings
Frameworks for measuring and analysing health in urban settings
Urbanisation, urban populations and health
Key trends in the patterns of health in urban settings
Wider determinants of health in urban settings
Access to healthcare in global cities and other urban settings
Key health problems of twenty-first century urban settings
Key trends in the patterns of healthcare services in urban settings
Organisation and delivery of health services in global cities and other urban settings
Urban governance and urban health
Globalisation and urban health
Strategies and interventions to promote health in urban settings
Researching health and healthcare in urban settings

Learning outcomes

 1. Demonstrate an understanding of concepts and theories  of urban settings  influence on health
2. Develop an understanding of place-based determinants of health  and their impact on health in urban settings
3. Demonstrate an understanding of healthcare services and other interventions in urban settings
4. Design a comprehensive urban health profile

Assessment strategy

 Assessment in Urban Health is designed to prepare, engage and test a range of skills (theoretical, practical, analytical and academic) in order to assess achievement of the module learning outcomes.  Thus, assessment tools include formal and informal individual and group activities to develop knowledge and skills to undertake the summative assessments. They include the preparation and of an urban health profile (LO1, 2 and 4) of 2,500 words (40%), and a Final Report  of 3,500 words (LO1,2 and 3) (60%) to provide an analysis of an urban health issue in relation to a sub-population group, using both urban health and public health analytical approaches. The first assessment requires students to construct an urban health profile on an urban health issue of a local urban area drawing on a range of data and the issues arising from the local area being studied. This is designed to help students identify a suitable urban health issue that they wish to explore on the Module. The final report will test students’ ability to draw together conceptual and theoretical aspects as well as policy and practice developments in relation to health in cities. Students are recommended to establish a link between the first and second assessments by studying the same urban health issue in both assessments. The final report will also require students to critique services / interventions that relate to the health issue they choose to study.


 Core Reading
Galea S and Vlahov D (eds) (2005) Handbook of Urban Health: Populations, Methods and Practice. New York: Springer
Libman K, Freudenberg N, O’Keefe E. (2010) A Tale of Two ObesCities: Comparing responses to childhood obesity in London and New York City. New York and London: City University of New York and London Metropolitan University Childhood Obesity Collaborative.
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).
Mckintosh M (2005) London – the World in One City: An Analysis of 2001 Census Results. London: Greater London Authority.
Niels O, Kristiansen, B.  Munk-Jorgensen, C. (2017) Mental Health and Illness in the City. Springer:  Singapore
UN Habitat (2003) Water and Sanitation in the World’s Cities: Local Action for Global Goals. Geneva: UN Human Settlements Programme/Earth Scan.
WHO (2010) WHO Age-Friendly Environments Programme. Geneva: World Health Organization.

Core Reading - e-journals
Big Cities Health Inventory; Chicago: City of Chicago, Dept. of Health, 1994-
Journal of Urban Health by New York Academy of Medicine; New York : Springer
Journal of Urban Health by Gale Group; Cary, N.C.: Oxford University Press, 1998-
Journal of Health and Place

Additional Reading
ACT (2010) ACT Strategic Plan for Positive Ageing 2010- 2014: Towards an Age-Friendly City. Canberra (Australia): ACT Government.
Burdett R and Taylor M (2011) ‘Can Cities Be Good For You?’, in Cities Health and Well-being, Urban Age Conference Newspaper, London: Urban Age Programme.
Corburn J (2013) Healthy city planning: from neighbourhood to national health equity. Abingdon: Routledge.
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.
Freudenberg N, Klitzman S and Saegert S (2009) Urban health and society: interdisciplinary approaches to research and practice. San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons. 
Gibbons M C, Bali R K and Wickramasinghe N (2010) Urban health knowledge management. New York; London: Springer.
Kjellstrom T (2007) Our cities, our health, our future: Acting on social determinants for health equity in urban settings. Kobe, Japan: WHO Centre for Health Development
Manley D, van Ham M, Bailey N, Simpson L, and Maclennam D (2013) (eds) Neighbourhood effects or neighbourhood based problems? : a policy context. New York: Springer.
National Heart Foundation of Australia (2011). Planning for healthy urban environments: A quick guide to supportive Victorian planning clauses. Melbourne: National Heart Foundation of Australia.
Pearce J and Witten K (2010) Geographies of Obesity – environmental understandings of the obesity epidemic (Geographies of Health). Farnham: Ashgate.
Piggott G (ed), Greater London Authority and Data Management and Analysis Group (2009) Focus on London 2009. London: GLA and TSO
Whitman S, Shah A M and Benjamins, M (2011) Urban health: combating disparities with local data. New York: Oxford University Press.
WHO (2010) WHO Age-Friendly Environments Programme. Geneva: World Health Organization.
World Health Organization and UN HABITAT (2016) Global Report on Urban Health: equitable, healthier cities for sustainable development. Geneva: WHO.

On-line resources
London Health Programmes at
The London Health Observatory at
The King’s Fund at
Greater London Authority’ s publications of Focus on London at
Public Health England at
UN-HABITAT’s Global Urban Observatory at
WHO at