The Bartlett School of Planning


Health Citizenship

The Health Citizenship cluster is pursuing a new sphere of research around urban health and democratic governance.

Person in orange running trainers walking up a set of concrete stairs

1 April 2024


This cluster investigates wellbeing burdens/benefits and inequalities in their distribution; public understanding of the healthy life and how it can be sustained; & participatory approaches to health within urban planning and urban policy.

Our work centres on the politics of producing health within urban environments. Globally there are ‘urban penalties’ on the health of individuals, and the impacts of urban living are very varied. Health issues are often addressed by diverse and siloed urban policies.

We are exploring issues of health that are important to planning, such as air quality and food insecurity. We are providing insights that are immediately useful to communities involved in health initiatives and urban governance, and of wider value in work on future democracy and equality.

In a world that is refocused on holistic well-being and planetary environmental disaster, there are new questions about urban civics where agency matters and citizens ostensibly seek to secure health through urban actions. Therefore Health Citizenship research has two areas of focus: 1) community-led actions; and 2) governance responses.

We are interested in Community-led Action, where people are reshaping social processes and uses of the city, as well as amenities and materials for ‘the healthy life’. We see this as people claiming their rights to a healthy life, and the performance of citizenship. The resulting actions also offer routes to new and insurgent forms of planning and place-making. The attention given to such activities by governance actors, including commercial and corporate interests, and statutory institutions is critical.

Animated by deepening inequalities, some cluster members have examined iconic COVID-19 cases for clean air and food security around the neighbourhood of UCL. These are hotbeds of local protest, concern, and conflict, and high-profile points of public communication on the nature of well-being, urban determinants of health, and trends in governance. We continue to monitor Health Citizenship in London, and are building bridges into work in other international cities.



Dr Lucy Natarajan, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Professor Ben Clifford, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Bernice Yanful, The Bartlett School of Planning 
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Professor Catalina Turcu, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Hyunji Cho, The Bartlett School of Planning
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John Ward, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Jonas De Vos, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Professor Lauren Andres (Lead PI), The Bartlett School of Planning
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Maria Ilia Kastrouni, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Meredith Whitten, The London School of Economics
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Mina Sufineyestani, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Nadia Elsay, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Professor Yasminah Beebeejaun, The Bartlett School of Planning
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Abigail Woodward, Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health, UCL
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Professor Helen Roberts, UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health
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Megan Armstrong, UCL
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Professor Nathan Davies, UCL Institute for Liver & Digestive Health
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Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash