Towards a healthy city

In richly green areas such as Nazareth, Wittevrouwenveld (Maastricht-Oost) and Kerkrade-West there is a persistent health deficit. However, according to other studies, a green environment should create the opposite pattern. A green environment would ensure that there is less or no health disadvantage.

Nazareth and the other districts mentioned do not fit into that picture. So, doesn’t the green space contribute to the health of the inhabitants in deprived areas? Why is this?

The research project ‘Making space for a healthy city’ aims at targeting these questions:

  • How can we use health (deprivation) as a parameter within spatial planning?
  • In what ways can changes in the living environment contribute to the reduction of this disadvantage?
  • Can a seductive environment, which makes healthy behaviour easy, help? And for whom does this help?
  • Problems, such as unhealthy behaviour, are passed on from generation to generation. Can interventions in the environment prevent this?
  • Especially in cities with economic and population growth, such as Maastricht, the physical living environment is densified by buildings and infrastructure. How can the green structure of densified neighbourhoods be designed to have maximum positive effect on health? How can we prevent a more attractive green structure from leading to the displacement of the original inhabitants?
  • How can the large-scale transformation of districts and the housing stock as a result of ‘shrinkage’ be designed in such a way that health, healthy behaviour and participation in society are stimulated as much as possible? In other words: how can shrinkage be used as an opportunity for better health?

The research consortium consists of partners from research, policy and practice, including the Academic Centre for Public Health Limburg, the department of Health Promotion (HP-UM), sustainability institute ICIS (ICIS-UM) and the health authority GGD South Limburg.

Hunting ground: Maastricht (NL)
Hunting period: 2018
Clients: Maastricht University, GGD Zuid-Limburg Health organization, Gemeente Maastricht