Is your city making you sick?

04 Kent and Thompson

Photo: Jennifer Kent (left) and Susan Thompson (right)

Australia’s cities are contributing to chronic and costly diseases, according to Dr Jennifer Kent and Professor Susan Thompson.

Speaking before the launch of their book, Planning Australia’s Healthy Built Environments, the authors said health issues were not embedded in planning. ‘At present, the cost-benefit analysis is very superficial when discussing healthy built environments,’ said Dr Kent.

Professor Thompson added: ‘The data is there, but if it’s not convenient, then it’s disregarded.’

Published by Routledge, the book is the first in Australia to study the links between health and the built environment. For example, the speed of city life clashes with rising inequity to make it difficult for exercise, community involvement and healthy-food preparation.

Dr Kent is a Robinson Fellow at the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, and Professor Thompson leads the City Wellbeing Program in the City Futures Research Centre, UNSW.