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Healthy City Lecture Series


Admission requirements

This course is available for students in the BA Urban Studies programme and to a limited amount of external students.


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a healthy city as “one that continually creates and improves its physical and social environments and expands the community resources that enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and developing to their maximum potential.”

This course addresses all aspects of health (physical, mental, and social) of individuals living in cities, as well as the question whether and how cities can improve their inhabitants’ health. It focuses on the health of the urban community, individual health in the urban context, and (preventive) interventions aimed at improving health in the urban context, from different scientific perspectives (i.e., the psychologal, epidemiological, educational, sociological, and humanities perspectives).

Examples of factors that negatively impact health and occur more frequently in cities, are low socio-economic status, crowding, environmental chaos, and unhealthy living conditions. Such risk factors have individually been associated with adverse physical, mental, and social health outcomes. In urban environments, these risk factors often cluster together, which may very well aggravate health outcomes, as well as complicate the search for meaningful interventions. This is why the issue of health in urban settings needs an interdisciplinary and contextual approach.

This course will focus on (combinations of) risk factors and adverse health outcomes which are more prevalent in urban settings compared to rural settings. Issues regarding the identification and targeting of specific at-risk groups will be discussed, but we will also pay attention to the specific opportunities for interventions provided by urban settings, such as neighborhoods, existing health facilities, and recreational facilities. The Healthy City Lecure Series further aims to merge different views of urban health in order to broaden perspectives and to set students up to take different perspectives into account when (collaboratively) developing (preventive) interventions to improve or optimize urban health.

Course objectives

General learning outcomes

See tab Additional information for the overview of the programme's general learning outcomes. In the assessment methods below is outlined which general learning outcome will be tested through which method.

Course objectives, pertaining to this course

At the end of the Healthy City course, students are able to:
1) describe which health threats are present in urban contexts
2) identify what opportunities a city might offer its inhabitants to improve their health
3) explain the conditions and pitfalls of introducing and executing health interventions in urban settings
4) describe the role of individuals (including their social and cultural backgrounds) in promoting urban health
5) critically argue about the ethical and political dimensions of public health governance.
6) apply what they have learned about how to influence individual’s health behavior to specific cases of individuals living in cities.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lectures.

Assessment method


Written exam at the end of the course:
-measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 4, 8, 9, 11-15, 21, 26
-measured course specific objectives: 1-6


Partial grade Weighing
Final Exam 100%

End grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The grade for the Final Exam must be 5.50 or higher.


If the grade for the final exam is lower than 5.50, there is a possibility of retaking this exam, replacing the previous grade.

Faculty regulations concerning participation in resits are listed in article 4.1 of the Faculty Course and Examination Regulations.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organised.

Reading list

To be announced.


General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration Exchange

For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Student Affairs Office for BA Urban Studies.


A limited amount of external students can follow this course as an elective course. To enroll, send an email to the Education Administration Office: Student Affairs Office for BA Urban Studies.