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Utility-driven evidence for healthy cities : problems with evidence generation and application

journal contribution
posted on 2005-09-01, 00:00 authored by E de Leeuw, T Skovgaard
The question whether the WHO Healthy Cities project ‘works’ has been asked ever since a number of novel ideas and actions related to community health, health promotion and healthy public policy in the mid 1980s came together in the Healthy Cities Movement initiated by the World Health Organization. The question, however, has become more urgent since we have entered an era in which the drive for ‘evidence’ seems all-pervasive.

The article explores the nature of evidence, review available evidence on Healthy Cities accomplishments, and discusses whether enough evidence has been accumulated on different performances within the realm of Healthy Cities. A main point of reference is the European Healthy Cities Project (E-HCP).

Building on the information gathered through documentary research on the topic, it is concluded that there is fair evidence that Healthy Cities works. However, the future holds great challenges for further development and evidence-oriented evaluations of Healthy Cities. There are problems with (1) the communication of evidence, (2) the tension between the original intention of the Healthy Cities Movement and its current operations, and (3) the complex nature of Healthy Cities and the methodological tools currently available.

History

Journal

Social science & medicine

Volume

61

Issue

6

Pagination

1331 - 1341

Publisher

Pergamon

Location

New York, N.Y.

ISSN

0277-9536

eISSN

1873-5347

Language

eng

Notes

Available online 27 March 2005.

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2005, Elsevier Ltd