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Healthy Cities 2019 - Apothecaries Hall, London

Our January Future Cities Forum, 'Healthy Cities' will be held on the 30th of the month at the Worshipful Company of Apothecaries in London.

It will look at city planning and place-making for well-being and resilience, the development and design of science research hubs, the urban integration of sport and exercise for a healthy population, the evolution of well-designed city public transport and the new 'NHS towns' in the UK, as well as how the current housing crisis is affecting health.

Healthy cities are resilient cities and City Hall London has formed a new partnership with 100 cities around the world including Paris, Kyoto, Singapore and Buenos Aires to share ideas and design plans to tackle challenges including a growing population, infrastructure and transport. Fiona Twycross is the new Chief Resilience Officer for London.

Recently the Mayor of London raised concerns about child health saying that the development of childrens' lungs is critically affected by pollution. There are also continuing worries about how long it is taking for changes to take place in infrastructure planning and delivery for electric vehicles in our cities and the dangers to our air quality through last-mile deliveries.

At our forum this month at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, we discussed how to create good place-making with social impact for all age groups and generations, Robin Cooper, Head of Regeneration at Newham Council talked about health provision too, He described how China has relevant examples of good urban health initiatives despite not having a free health service. Although he commended the service that the NHS provides in the UK, he pointed to it 'creaking at the seams', so Newham is building new state of the art health facilities which will then be leased back to the NHS.

Vastint UK's Andrew Cobden spoke of the importance of strong design in place-making, referencing the Sugar House Island development, which he is leading, highlighting the importance of creating 'interesting places...making places that little bit different' so more people can walk around in lively streets, for mental wellbeing and feel safe, particularly at night.

Neil Manthorpe, Landscape Architect at SNC-Lavalin Atkins also commented on how the creation of community and place was being helped by the digital agenda, using augmented reality to plan and experience place before building takes place. As our road network in the UK begins to change, he stated, with the pedestrian taking a more important status, places to exercise, relax and unwind will feature strongly in our cities.

Our Healthy Cities Forum at the Crystal in October 2017 included leaders from the Design Council, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Trust, Plymouth University, Peabody, BDP, Transport for London, EY, the Royal College of Physicians, and The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

Topics discussed centred on the re-design of Thamesmead for better physical and mental health, walkable London, place-making and neurourbanism, the creation of the new university science hub in Liverpool and research into the health benefits of living near water.

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