UWE Bristol continues work with World Health Organisation

Issue date: 29 July 2015

Grass grows between tram tracks in an urban environment

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has redesignated the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments.

This is in recognition of work that promotes healthy and sustainable settlements through a combination of research, training, consultancy and publications.

Dr Laurence Carmichael, UWE's Co-ordinator for the Collaborating Centre, said, “We welcome the continued trust from WHO Europe. The redesignation is a standard process that all collaborating centres need to go through. We have ambitious plans and we have reformed our structure to reflect the multidisciplinary nature of the field of work.”

The centre supports WHO Healthy Cities across Europe to integrate health into their planning system. Consideration of health in the planning process has been shown to be critical in tackling public health issues such as mental health, obesity and injury prevention and one of the Centre's roles is to work with WHO Europe and other key agencies to produce and disseminate evidence underpinning and promoting the healthy urban environment theme. The WHO Collaborating Centre has also been instrumental in introducing health into architecture education providing significant inroads into improving sustainable design.

“A refreshed direction from the World Health Organisation for the next four years will enable us to cover local and national contexts and to promote international collaboration,” said Dr Carmichael, “Our renewed programme of work in support of the WHO Healthy Cities programme aims to promote health and well-being through action at the level of individual local authorities as well as continuing support for the WHO Cities network.”

The WHO collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments at UWE Bristol was established in 1995. Training, consultancy and dissemination of research findings will help European Healthy Cities develop their reuniting health and planning strategies. The two other centres designated by WHO are based in Finland and Japan.

Professor James Longhurst, Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability, concludes, “Bristol is seen as an international Centre for environmental and sustainable development and we are currently celebrating this as European Green Capital. The work carried out by the WHO Collaborating Centre contributes significantly to the green agenda and demonstrates the long term commitment by UWE Bristol to sustainability at home and on the international stage.”

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