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Healthy City Lecture Series


Admission requirements

Because of the limited capacity of this course, students from the BA Urban Studies always have priority. Students from any other programme than the BA Urban Studies must contact the Coordinator of Studies to see whether there are places left. If there are no places left, you may be placed on a waiting list. The waiting list will be cleared according to the amount of places left after the Urban Studies students have been placed and to the position on the waiting list.


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. According to the WHO, a healthy city is “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 these aspects of health (physical, mental, and social) from different scientific perspectives (i.e., the psychologal, epidemiological, educational, sociological, and humanities perspectives). 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.

Examples of urban challenges are low socio-economic status, crowding, environmental chaos, and unhealthy living conditions. Such challenges, or risk factors, have individually been associated with adverse physical, mental, and social outcomes. In urban environments, these risk factors often cluster together, which may very well aggravate 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 such as increases in stress, obesity, psychopathology, and substance use, 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. In order to develop meaningful (preventive) interventions it is important to be aware of the basic components of Population Health Management, which involves decision-making based on large databases. It is however also important to engage with individuals’ notions of health, which are generally based on cultural and social representations, and to acquire some basic knowledge about the opportunities provided by, for example, bio-art and bio-design, DIY biology and bio-hacking.

The Healthy City Lecure Series aims to merge all these 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

The Healthy City course objectives are:

  • 1) To gain insight into health issues in an urban context

  • 2) To understand different perspectives on health in the urban context

  • 3) To learn about different (preventive) health interventions currently in place in urban settings

  • 4) To understand the conditions and pitfalls of introducing and executing health interventions in urban settings

  • 5) To gain insight into the role of indivduals (including their social and cultural backgrounds) in promoting urban health


The timetable is available on the Urban Studies website.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC equals 28 hours), which equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Attending lectures: 26

  • Assessment hours (exams): 4 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 55 hours

  • Completing assignment(s), preparing for classes and exams: 55 hours

Assessment method


  • Midterm exam
    Take home examination with essay questions
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 5, 8-9, 11, 13-15, 21, 26
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-4

  • Final exam
    Written examination with essay questions
    -measured programme's general learning outcomes: 1, 4-5, 9, 14-16, 21
    -measured course specific objectives: 1-5


Partial grade Weighing
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 70%

End grade

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

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of the midterm exam grade and final exam grade.

  • The weighted average of the midterm exam grade and the final exam grade needs to be 5.50 or higher.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), or the final exam grade is lower than 5.50, there is a possibility of retaking the final examination, replacing the previous final exam 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.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • Indication and/or distribution of course readings

  • Posting of lecture material (e.g. slides, exercises)

  • Instructions for exercises/exams

  • General course-related announcements

Reading list

Book chapters, governance & administration-based articles, and/or opinion-based and scientific articles provided by the lecturers through Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. S. Huijbregts Dr. S. van der Veek