Building Healthy, Equitable Communities - Laying Down the Right Foundations

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Oct 12, 2018
by Oscar Tollast
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Building Healthy, Equitable Communities - Laying Down the Right Foundations

Health professionals and urbanists welcomed to Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg, Austria, for latest health program Photo by Lily Banse from Unsplash

Health professionals and urbanists from around the world have convened at Schloss Leopopldskron, in Salzburg, Austria, to explore how urban environments can affect health and the public good.

Around 60 participants from more than 15 countries met on Thursday afternoon for the start of the Salzburg Global Seminar program, Building Healthy, Equitable Communities: The Role of Inclusive Urban Development and Investment.

This program is being held in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is part of Salzburg Global’s multi-year series Health and Health Care Innovation. It follows on after last year’s program, Building Healthy Communities: The Role of Hospitals, which looked at how we can create a culture of health that goes beyond purely treating illnesses in hospitals.

For the next few days, participants will share their knowledge and experiences from working in vastly different communities in countries all over the world. They will investigate how action can be taken at local and regional levels and identify innovative approaches which can be incorporated into best practice.

Over half of the world’s population resides in urban areas. As that number continues to rise, the question of how city living affects our health becomes more urgent to answer. Cities have a symbiotic relationship with the people who live in them. As demographics fluctuate, how can cities adapt and ensure everyone has a fair and opportunity to be healthier?

On Thursday afternoon, following opening remarks from Clare Shine, vice president and chief program officer of Salzburg Global, and Sharon Roerty, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, participants took part in table discussions to identify key issues to be discussed during the program.

Speaking ahead of the program, John Lotherington, program director at Salzburg Global responsible for health and health care, said, “We will be looking at the conditions which can create and protect health and wellbeing and going beyond the traditional focus on health care for when people get sick.

“Here we’ll be thinking about how much-added value can be gained when urban planners and place-makers, and those responsible for housing, for transportation, for green spaces, engage with each other and communities to realize fully the impact they can achieve on health.  This is going to be an exciting exploration of how we can make healthier cities.”


The program Building Healthy, Equitable Communities: The Role of Inclusive Urban Development and Investment is part of Salzburg Global Seminar's multi-year series Health and Health Care Innovation. This year's program is held in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the program. Follow #SGShealth on Twitter and Instagram.