New Cities hosted some 250 participants from around 40 countries in Montreal on June 19th and 20th to share their thoughts and experience in the quest for the well-being and wellness of city dwellers.
During the opening panel, Ann Aerts, director of the Novartis Foundation and Renato Galliano, of the City of Milan, emphasized the importance of local action in health and well-being.
Health is often a State policy, but the quality of life in urban areas, where the vast majority of people live, is the responsibility of municipalities and local institutions. The consequences of the urban environment on health and well-being of people therefore call for important local interventions to ensure or increase the health status of city dwellers, as several speakers have pointed out.
Several local examples were presented, often addressed by elected representatives from cities such as Victoria (Canada), Melbourne (Australia), Götenburgh (Sweden), Kingston (Jamaica), Santa Monica (United States) and Montreal (Canada). Important fact to point out, in all cases, these were elected women who were in charge of raising the importance to deal with public health intervention at local urban level.
Several also emphasized, especially Jo Ivey Bouffard of the International Society for Urban Health (ISUH), on the notion of public health and the necessary intervention in cities, integrating a prevention and adequate living conditions perspective. This notion is contrasted with health care provided by hospitals and health care system in general, whether stately or privately managed, used mainly to control diseases, which are often consequent on an urban environment more or less healthy.
The perspective of this Wellbeing Cities Forum confirms INTA's theme of PILOT HEALTHY PLACES, which is an application program to engage territories in a new health culture, in preparation with URBAPILOT and other partners.
By one of our INTA members and representative in Montreal, Sylvain Ducas.