Ilona Kickbusch

"The key strategic point of the settings approach was to move health promotion away from focusing on individual behaviors and communities at risk to developing a strategy that encompasses a total population within a given setting. This followed the thinking of Geoffrey Rose that an effective and sustainable public health strategy must lower the risk of the majority of individuals, not only those at the tail end of the distribution." 

Healthy Cities and settings for health

Ilona Kickbusch is a member of the WHO European Healthy Cities Scientific Committee. Updates on the European Healthy Cities available here.

In 1986 the WHO Healthy Cities Project was launched with the participation of 11 European Cities. This project has since become a global movement with cities, towns and municipalities around the world having taken up this intersectoral approach to health. From the Healthy Cities approach followed a number of other settings initiatives in health promotion: health promoting schools, healthy workplaces, health promoting hospitals and health in prisons.

All settings programs take their starting point from a specific setting for health and engage all the actors within this setting in an organization process for making the setting a healthier place to „live, love, work and play“ – as expressed in the Ottawa Charter. Other settings include healthy villages, healthy markets and healthy communities and municipalities.

Healthy Cities movement

The Healthy Cities movement promotes comprehensive and systematic policy and planning for health and emphasizes:

  • the need to address inequality in health and urban poverty
  • the needs of vulnerable groups
  • participatory governance
  • the social, economic and environmental determinants of health.

This is not about the health sector only. It includes health considerations in economic, regeneration and urban development efforts.