Sustainable cities and human settlements

Thirty years of public health research have demonstrated that improved indoor environmental quality is associated with better health outcomes. Recent research has demonstrated an impact of the indoor environment on cognitive function. We recruited 109 participants from 10 high-performing buildings (i.e. buildings surpassing the ASHRAE Standard 62.1–2010 ventilation requirement and with low total volatile organic compound concentrations) in five U.S. cities. In each city, buildings were matched by week of assessment, tenant, type of worker and work functions.
Massive slums have become major features of cities in many low-income and middle-income countries. Here, in the first in a Series of two papers, we discuss why slums are unhealthy places with especially high risks of infection and injury. We show that children are especially vulnerable, and that the combination of malnutrition and recurrent diarrhoea leads to stunted growth and longer-term effects on cognitive development. We find that the scientific literature on slum health is underdeveloped in comparison to urban health, and poverty and health.
In the first paper in this Series we assessed theoretical and empirical evidence and concluded that the health of people living in slums is a function not only of poverty but of intimately shared physical and social environments. In this paper we extend the theory of so-called neighbourhood effects. Slums offer high returns on investment because beneficial effects are shared across many people in densely populated neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood effects also help explain how and why the benefits of interventions vary between slum and non-slum spaces and between slums.
Natural World Heritage Sites (NWHS), via their formal designation through the United Nations, are globally recognized as containing some of the Earth's most valuable natural assets. Understanding changes in their ecological condition is essential for their ongoing preservation. Here we use two newly available globally consistent data sets that assess changes in human pressure (Human Footprint) and forest loss (Global Forest Watch) over time across the global network of terrestrial NWHS.
Background Controversy exists about the differences in air pollution exposure and inhalation dose between mode of transport. We aimed to review air pollution exposure and inhaled dose according to mode of transport and pollutant and their effect in terms of years of life expectancy (YLE).
Nutrient recycling has been practiced for thousands of years in China to maintain food production without environmental pollution. In the past three decades, however, the traditional nutrient recycling systems have been replaced with waste treatment systems, which have resulted in rapid and severe environmental pollution.
An international review of stormwater regulation and practices, especially for low-exposure, landscape irrigation schemes in urban environments, was undertaken with a view to identifying what could be used in Alberta, Canada. A general lack of clear guidance and regulation to manage stormwater quality and potential public health risks was identified, which could be hindering the uptake of stormwater schemes generally.
Urban source separation infrastructure systems have a promising potential for a more sustainable management of household food waste and wastewaters. A renewed trend of larger implementations of pilot areas with such systems is currently emerging in Northern Europe. This study investigates the drivers behind the decision of stakeholders to implement source separation systems as well as the importance of the previously existing pilot areas in the decision-making process. By means of semi-structured expert interviews, five areas with source separation were characterized and compared.
Disasters impacts on urban environment are the result of interactions among natural and human systems, which are intimately linked each other. What is more, cities are directly dependent on infrastructures providing essential services (Lifeline Systems, LS). The operation of LS in ordinary conditions as well as after disasters is crucial. Among the LS, drinking water supply deserves a critical role for citizens. The present work summarizes some preliminary activities related to an ongoing EU funded research project.