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Urban health challenges: Lessons from COVID-19 responses

Ruszczyk, Hanna A.; Castán Broto, Vanesa; McFarlane, Colin

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Vanesa Castán Broto


The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a re-examination of our societies and in particular urban health. We argue that urban health needs to address three inter-related challenge areas – the unequal impacts of climate change, changing patterns of urbanization, and the changing role of the local government – across multiple spatial scales: from individual, households to neighbourhoods, cities, and urban hinterlands. Urban health calls for nimble institutions to provide a range of responses while adapting to crisis situations, and which operate beyond any one spatial scale. We illustrate our argument by drawing on South and Southeast Asian examples where responses to the pandemic have confronted these challenges across scales. A multiscalar definition of urban health offers an opportunity to challenge dominant approaches to urban health in research, policy, and practice.


Ruszczyk, H. A., Castán Broto, V., & McFarlane, C. (2022). Urban health challenges: Lessons from COVID-19 responses. Geoforum, 131, 105-115.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 7, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 24, 2022
Publication Date 2022-05
Deposit Date Apr 13, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 17, 2022
Journal Geoforum
Print ISSN 0016-7185
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 131
Pages 105-115


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