1st Edition

City of Well-being A radical guide to planning

By Hugh Barton Copyright 2017
    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    304 Pages
    by Routledge

    City of Well-being provides a radical and holistic introduction to the science and art of town planning. It starts from the premise that the purpose of planning is the health, well-being and sustainable quality of life of people. Drawing on current and historic examples it offers inspiration, information and an integrated perspective which challenges all professions and decision-makers that affect the urban environment. It is both authoritative and readable, designed for students, practitioners, politicians and civil society.

    The science. Summarizing the most recent research, the book demonstrates the interrelationships between the huge issues of obesity, unhealthy lifestyles, inequality, mental illness, climate change and environmental quality. The radical implications for transport, housing, economic, social and energy policies are spelt out.

    The art and politics. The book examines how economic development really happens, and how spatial decisions reinforce or undermine good intentions. It searches for the creative strategies, urban forms and neighbourhood designs that can marry the ideal with the real. The relationship of planning and politics is tackled head-on, leading to conclusions about the role of planners, communities and development agencies in a pluralistic society. Healthy planning principles could provide a powerful logical motivation for all practitioners.



    List of Figures




    I Orientation

    Prologue: contrasting city scenarios

    1. Putting people at the heart of planning

      • Introduction: the purpose of planning
      • Time-bombs of health, climate and urbanization
      • Planning at the cross-roads
      • Reflection

     2. A framework for understanding

      • Towards an eco-system model of cities
      • The settlement health map
      • Interpretation of the health map
      • Conclusion: ethics for planners


    II Inspiration

    3. Shafts of light from the past

      • Classical designers and the city of Priene
      • The Mediaeval city: Siena
      • Grand designs: Paris re-imagined
      • Ethical entrepreneurs and Saltaire


    4. The emergence of modern planning

      • The public health revolution
      • Ebenezer Howard and Garden Cities
      • The pioneers in Britain and America
      • Planning as civic design
      • The British new towns
      • Gaining the country but losing the plot

    5. Beacons of hope

      • Introduction: Healthy Cities
      • Copenhagen: city of cyclists
      • Kuopio: city of lakes and forests
      • Freiburg: city of short distances
      • Portland: breaking the neo-liberal taboo
      • Lessons from inspirational cities


    III Cognition: understanding people and environment

    6. Spatial planning for physical well-being

      • Obesity, health and physical activity

      • Active travel – walking and cycling
      • Active recreation
      • Healthy diet
      • Cautions and counsels

    7. Planning for mental and social well-being

      • Nature, greenspace, sun and sound
      • Social networks and community
      • Healthy, diverse neighbourhoods
      • Social capital and empowerment
      • Spatial planning recommendations

    8. Planning for place equity

      • Social justice and health inequalities
      • Planning for all
      • Work, income and spatial policy
      • Housing and living conditions
      • Movement and accessibility

    9. Climate change and settlement planning

      • The science of climate change
      • Greenhouse gases, energy and planning
      • Sustainable energy strategy
      • Human ecology

    10. The local ecology of cities

      • Ecological resilience
      • Green infrastructure
      • Air quality and planning

      • Sustainable urban water systems
      • Biodiversity
      • Local food production


    IV Navigation: a route map for healthy planning

      • Criteria for judging healthy urban policy

    11. Reality check: the economics of land and development

      • The life-cycle of a plot
      • Players in the development game
      • Land and housing markets
      • How land values shape the city
      • Urban renewal and managing the market

    12. Sustainable urban form

      • Understanding urban form
      • Centrifugal and centripetal forces
      • Decentralization versus the compact city
      • Polycentricity and linearity
      • Five key urban form decision areas


    13. Healthy neighbourhood design

      • Introduction: the significance of locality
      • The shape of neighbourhoods
      • Spatial analysis and density
      • The quality of place
      • Conclusion: urban design

    14. Urban dynamics

      • Introduction: strategic planning issues
      • Understanding the economic base of a city
      • Population and housing
      • Matching economic activity and population
      • Transport infrastructure and economic development


    V. Perspiration: land, power and the planning process

    14. The governance of land

    • Is planning really necessary?
    • Private and community property rights
    • Comparative planning systems
    • Local government powers
    • Conclusion

    16. The planning process and the role of planners

    • Dimensions of planning: technical, political and executive
    • From design to the rational planning process
    • Heroic versus humdrum planning
    • The medium is the message: collaborative planning
    • Testing theory against practice
    • Ethical planning

    17. Putting principle into practice

    • Making decisions in a pluralist society: engaging communities
    • A cyclic planning process
    • Case study: Stroud town centre Neighbourhood Plan
    • Converting healthy rhetoric into healthy decisions
    • Conclusion



    • Seven conclusions if we are serious about planning cities for well-being
    • Final thought




    Hugh Barton is Emeritus Professor of planning, health and sustainability at the University of the West of England, and the author or editor of a series of innovative books including Sustainable Communities and Healthy Urban Planning (both 2000), Shaping Neighbourhoods (2010), and The Routledge Handbook of Planning for Health and Well-Being (2015). He is a recognized international expert, acting as special advisor to the World Health Organization Healthy Cities movement. A town planner by training, he has spent most of his career teaching planning, urban design and sustainable development at the University of the West of England, Bristol. His research and consultancy has focused on low carbon urban form, inclusive appraisal processes, and the integration of health and well-being into planning. Since ‘retirement’ in 2012 he has continued writing, and participating in academic and professional engagements, while devoting time to community activism, music-making, tennis and a growing number of grandchildren.

    "Marrying vision with practical reality, Barton provides lessons that are genuinely transferrable to the everyday working activities of planners and other professionals (such as the health sector)."

    Peter Fawcett, University of Liverpool, TPR 88 (6) 2017

    "We live in the age of the city and yet many modern cities are inhospitable, unhealthy places. Hugh Barton has done it again – he brings together traditional best practice with pioneering insights of how to make good human habitats. City of Well-being is no less than an urgently needed blueprint for creating healthy, liveable and sustainable cities. This is essential reading for all concerned with creating a worthy new home for humanity."

    Herbert Girardet, author, Creating Regenerative Cities

     "This is the city planning book I have been waiting for - tackling health, community, climate and our mistress, master and urban disaster, the car! Hugh Barton brings a lifetime of experience, research and common sense to put people at the heart of our placemaking process."

    George Ferguson CBE PPRIBA, Mayor of Bristol 2012-16

     "This is a majestic book that takes us on a wonderful and passionate journey about the possibilities and potential of planning into the 21st Century. With people at its centre, and the ‘time bombs’ of chronic disease and climate change ticking away, Hugh Barton firmly establishes health and wellbeing as the rightful cornerstones of a planning practice that matters and makes a difference to us all. Eloquently argued, beautifully written and scholarly in its comprehensive scope, this book exposes the ironies of contemporary planning and how we can, and must, take a better way to ensure a happy and healthy future for all life and the planet upon which it depends."

    Susan Thompson, Professor of Planning and Associate Director (City Wellbeing) City Futures Research Centre, The University of New South Wales, Australia