Directed Reading: Promising Practices for Building Healthy Cities & Communities

Course Number
7000 (Reading Courses & Research Projects)
Course Instructor(s)
Patricia O’Campo

course description

Urbanization has changed the face of the earth, and the human experience.  This phenomenon, and whether cities are healthy or insalubrious, is determined by larger societal forces and macro-social and macro-economic policies and practices. Healthier cities and communities, which we seek to study in this reading course, are characterized by processes, systems and assets that favour collective well-being: equity, sustainability, social connectedness, and resilience, to name a few.

We will focus our attention on a broad range of risk and protective conditions from the individual to macrosocial levels that determine health. In addition to penetrating analyses of pressing urban and community health problems, this course will be solutions-focused, meaning we go beyond describing health inequities and determinants to undertake research that generates evidence useful for intervening to improve health, recognizing both proximal and ‘upstream’ macrosocial drivers of health inequity. We also focus on promising levers of change, while attending to issues of theory, practice and context, meaningful stakeholder & community participation, and the social relations of knowledge production and consumption.

The course will utilize a variety of learning formats including guest speakers, in-class exercises, and case studies.

course objectives

  • To review the state of the science on the social determinants of urban health and on policies and interventions to address them, with an emphasis on the research methods used to assess intervention impact
  • To review and critically assess conceptual frameworks that depict solutions to promote healthier cities & communities
  • To expose students to several tools for engaging with community or policy partners to pursue co-creation of evidence to support solutions to pressing urban health problems.