Short courses


Healthy Urbanism

  • 3.5 hours
  • Unlimited

Course overview

The course provides strategies to understand and improve the health and wellbeing impacts of urban development through a new conceptual framework called THRIVES. It includes case studies of health-promoting housing and office buildings, large scale urban developments, and green infrastructure projects.

The course covers: 

  • theory and key concepts for understanding the health impact of urban development
  • definitions of equity, inclusion and sustainability for healthy development
  • urban health indicators and their use
  • community participation
  • using evidence and reflective practice to build a case for healthy development
  • guidance for healthy urban design and planning

There will also be downloadable workbook activities with model answers.

Course content

The content is divided into six sections: 

Welcome information (15 min): Information about the course and how to get the most out of the training. 

Foundations (30 min): How urban environments impact health and wellbeing and the key components of the THRIVES framework. 

Principles (50 min): Three key take-away messages for healthy urbanism, including how the concepts of inclusion, equity and sustainability relate to health through case studies. 

Pathways (55 min): Practical knowledge and tools for community participation and healthy urban development processes. Apply new skills by evaluating a development brief.

Application (50 min): Explore ways to apply the THRIVES concepts in your work and try to build a business case for healthy urban development using the case studies and resources provided.

Conclusion (10 min): A brief summary and links to further resources.

Course structure and teaching

The course will be delivered on UCL's virtual learning platform UCL Extend. You'll need your own computer or internet enabled device. 

You can work at your own pace. The course is an estimated 3.5 hours long but this assumes you'll download some activities including interactive booklets for future use. 

Who the course is for

The course is aimed at built environment and public health professionals and postgraduate students, including those working in planning, engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and associated fields. 

Learning outcomes

The course will help you to: 

  • understand and describe how urban development influences health and wellbeing at multiple scales
  • describe how specific built environment design and policy measures relate to health through sustainability, inclusion and equity principles
  • identify transferable successes and lessons learned from international case studies, tools and resources
  • feel confident to apply new knowledge gained within your professional practice


If you complete each of the activities you'll receive a certificate of completion. 


Course team

Dr Helen Pineo

Dr Helen Pineo

Helen is Associate Professor in Healthy and Sustainable Cities in the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment at UCL. Prior to 2018 Helen was an urban planner (MRTPI) integrating health and sustainability into new developments and planning policy, in the UK and internationally. She is an expert in urban planning, indicators and evidence use by urban policy-makers. Helen’s research focuses broadly on how property development, regeneration and urban policy can support health and sustainability.

Dr Gemma Moore

Dr Gemma Moore

Gemma is Senior Research Fellow in Evaluation and Lecturer (Teaching) in the Bartlett Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering at UCL. She is an applied social researcher who has been working in the field of evaluation for more than 10 years. Gemma has significant experience of working on activities that bridge research, evaluation and engagement, whilst supporting people and partnerships working towards lasting cultural change. Her research interests focus upon knowledge production, participation, social sustainability and health and wellbeing, particularly understanding the relationships between people, their local environment and decision-making processes.

Learner reviews

"I found this training to be very informative, interactive and I enjoyed the examples given for the topics. This made it very interesting. Paired with the activities it kept me interested throughout the training."

Maeve Brennan, Health Promotion Coordinator, USA.

"The training gives tools to build the case for healthy urban developments and interventions, it presents the information in a very clear way, and it is easy to understand." 

Jorge E. Patiño, PhD, GIS & Remote Sensing researcher, Colombia.

"As an acute NHS provider, my organisation is currently looking at ways to transform our hospitals (both of which were built circa 1960/1970) to ensure they are fit for purpose for the next generation. In addition to the transformation of our buildings and estate we are also focusing on communities/neighbourhoods and place-based planning to ensure that we configure our buildings and services in the future in the right way that will benefit the local communities. This will undoubtedly include aligning and linking delivery with other aspects of health in and around our hospitals so the case studies throughout the module have been particularly informative and inspiring. The THRIVES principles provides a focus and a route to further consider the scale of the local health impact and how we map our approach to population health management."   

Hilton Heslop, Health service provider, England.

"Through the case studies provided by each module section, I have a better understanding of how the core principles of THRIVES can be met in practice and ways in which challenges and barriers can be identified and overcome to ensure better implementation in future."

Morganna Davies MSc, Research associate, Wales

Course information last modified: 16 Aug 2023, 14:31