Urban planning and public health: Analytical review

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613.1; 721.01

B.A. Revich


Institute of Economic Forecasting, 47 Nakhimovsky prospect, Moscow, 117418, Russian Federation


This review focuses on certain challenges related to hygienic assessment of urban planning. Studies by Soviet (and later Russian) hygienists that have been accomplished since 1970ties have brought about optimal solutions for planning urban districts, climatic peculiarities taken into account. Specific hygienic standards have been developed with respect to insolation, building density, minimum safe distances from housing to parking areas, recommendations on creating green spaces along the busiest motorways as well as some other parameters that are now a part of regulatory documents on construction. A comfortable urban environment can hardly be created in Russian cities without adherence to hygienic standards regarding ambient air quality, noise levels, insolation, creating easily available open green spaces. All this should be implemented without any limitations on building density, especially in downtowns areas. Hygienic standards stipulate transition from fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly ones in cities located in Siberia and the Far East. There are also other multiple indicators of urban environment quality that shouldn’t be neglected. The review also considers how important insolation is for health of urban citizens, especially bearing in mind the latest data on significance of vitamin D for prevention of osteoporosis. A great attention is paid to positive effects produced by open green spaces on population health including mental health, higher levels of physical activity, better social interactions and mutual trust, and reduced social isolation. All these aspects are becoming truly vital after the COVID-19 pandemic. Green spaces are also important since they help mitigate certain negative consequences of living in an aggressive urban environment.

public health, COVID-19, urban planning, building density, ambient air, noise, insolation, green spaces, vitamin D
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