by Jeremy P. Feakins
Can an urban planner promote health for a city’s future citizens? Dr. Maria Neira, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director for the Department of Public Health, answers this question with a resounding, “Yes!”
“Health and well-being MUST be the number one priority in urban planning,” says Dr. Neira. “Unfortunately today, many rapidly growing cities are beset with heavy traffic, cramped slums, and anonymous high-rise blocks that breed social alienation, noise, and violence. All of these have a negative impact on our mental and physical health and well-being.”
Possibly the biggest health concern in cities is air pollution. Dr. Neira explains, “When tiny, invisible particles of pollution penetrate deep into people’s lungs and bloodstream, these toxic pollutants accumulate in the body and eventually lead to cardiovascular disease and cancer.” Other urban health risks include poor wastewater management practices and lack of access to nutritious food.
Dr. Neira urges local and national governments to take action, and encourages individuals to make changes in their own lives. “This can include commitments to cycle or take public transport to work, when safe routes are available; to recycle waste or compost; or conserve water and energy at home and in the office.” You can read more of Dr. Neira’s thoughts here.
My company, Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation, has plans to build a global network of high-quality eco-resorts with sustainable homes, condominiums, retail opportunities, and EcoHotel. These will be 100% fossil fuel-free and will provide sustainably produced organic food, water, and shelter to people in tropical and subtropical locations around the globe. We intend to develop communities where people can live in harmony with nature and in conjunction with a modern, and healthy, quality of life.
To learn more about OTEC EcoVillage, visit our website here.