ISSUES2018 No.1
Editor’s Note: In physiological sense, health refers to the functional and metabolic efficiency of a living organism. For human beings, it has also a psychological and sociological sense. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, health is a primary element of safety needs, on the second level of the hierarchy over physiological needs. The World Health Organization (WHO) defined human health in its 1948 constitution as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” a definition being subject to controversy because of the lack of operational value, the ambiguity in developing cohesive strategies, and the impossibility of achieving the state of “complete.” Alejandro Jadad Bechara, a Colombian Canadian physician engaged in the mission of enabling people – either as individuals or groups – to live healthy and happy lives until the last breath, further conceptualized health as the ability to adapt and self-manage when individuals and communities face physical, mental or social challenges. With its origin in the concern on public health, the theory and practice of modern urban planning, since its birth in the mid-19th century, has taken as its prime mission to continuously improve the level of a healthy life for human beings by shaping a healthy living environment. While the concern on public health is decreasing after the issue has been well tackled through the efficient implementation of planning regulations and building codes, the concern on individual health has been remarkably increasing along with the improvement of living quality thanks to sustained socioeconomic development. Nowadays in China, when the socialist society with Chinese characteristics enters a new era of development, the main contradictions it faces are shifted to those between people’s increasing demand for a better life and the imbalanced and incomplete development. For urban planning, it implies that, while great efforts are continuously made to deal with the urban diseases that many Chinese cities, in particular the big ones, encountered during the process of rapid urbanization, due attention should be paid to the health issue of individuals. The demands for specific services, facilities, infrastructures, environments, and so on that are related to health and healthy life may greatly reshape the traditional concepts of urban planning, in terms of land use, functional layout, transportation, and open space, etc. In that sense, the construction of Healthy Cities is a new challenge to modern urban planning.

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