What are Healthy Cities?

Simply, Healthy Cities are cities that are designed to maximize the health and minimize the harm of both the environment and its inhabitants. This means using materials and building systems that are safe for people, but also protecting nature within our cities and letting the rules of the natural world guide our design.

Who are Healthy Cities for?

Healthy Cities are for everyone. If we (humans) are going to continue to exist in the world, we need to do so in a sustainable way by recognizing our place among the plants and animals. Continually prioritizing human needs over everything else is highly unsustainable as it contributes to global environmental degradation– from things like deforestation to species decline and loss. Cities are inherently human creations – but if we can redesign them to highlight the health of people, animals, and the environment all together… we have an incredible opportunity to make a lasting change.  

What will this look like?

Just as trees in the rain forest look different than trees in the tundra, our cities will not look the same across the globe. We need to harness the power of locality to design our cities the best we can within local geographies. This means that a healthy city in the desert will harness the abundant power of sun, whereas a coastal city will be designed to utilize the power of nearby water. Additionally, although the trees in the rainforest and the tundra look different from each other, they do perform the same functions (photosynthesis, habitat creation…). Our cities will reflect this concept, they’ll look aesthetically different but provide the same essential functions designed in ways to harness the power of their local geographies.


First, there are several functions that cities need to fulfill. See them here.