Lessons from complexity science for urban health and well-being

Gatzweiler, Franz W.; Reis, Stefan; Zhang, Yi; Jayasinghe, Saroj. 2018 Lessons from complexity science for urban health and well-being. Cities & Health, 1 (2). 210-223.

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From a complexity science perspective, urban health and well-being challenges emerge due to the complexity of urban systems. Adverse urban health outcomes emerge from failing to respond to that complexity by taking a systems approach in knowledge and action which would open opportunity spaces for human agents to create benefits which in turn would generate salutogenic health and well-being outcomes. Lessons learned from complexity science suggest that adverse urban health outcomes emerge from a poor understanding of their complexity and from not engaging with them in a transdisciplinary, integrated fashion. A conceptual framework is presented which combines systems models from the natural and social sciences and explains how opportunities for advancing health and well-being can be co-created. The framework demonstrates that taking a systems approach is a necessary cognitive response from learning the lessons of complexity science and from understanding that humans are an inextricable part of the systems they aim at understanding and managing. Such response is at the core of systems intelligence. The implications are far reaching for the science of urban health and well-being.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Atmospheric Chemistry and Effects (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2374-8834
Additional Keywords: complexity, urban health, risk, systems intelligence
NORA Subject Terms: Health
General > Science Policy
Date made live: 27 Mar 2018 14:25 +0 (UTC)

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