Vienna meeting of the international working group Urban Planning for Health Equity
The second in-person meeting of the ARL international working group Urban Planning for Health Equity took place in Vienna from 9th – 10th October 2023 at Technische Universität Wien.
The Vienna meeting began with a social event on Sunday. Most of the working group members joined a field trip to aspern Seestadt, a new urban development area at the former “Aspern airfield”.
It is one of the largest and most innovative urban development projects in Europe, which started in 2014 and is supposed to create high-quality living environment for more than 25.000 people and over 20.000 jobs and training places. The working group remarked that this is a very exciting project, however, the majority of the urban development project has not yet been completed and the appearance of the neighbourhood is more grey than green.
The official meeting began on Monday, 9th October 2023. Heike Köckler, the chair of the working group, and Magdalena Maierhofer from TU Wien cordially welcomed all working group members.
At the beginning, all members presented updates on their recent activities in the different countries. Consequently, the members continued working on the products that were consented during the kick-off workshop in 2022.
As the purpose of the working group is to work on health equity in urban planning, one of the main products will be the definition of key terms on the topic of health equity in urban planning for a glossary.
The glossary terms include definitions for health equity in urban planning on the following topics: Environmental justice, Health concepts, Biodiversity and climate change/adaptation, Infrastructure, Food system and nutrition, Diversity, Vulnerability and resilience. Subsequently, the members continued to work on a second product, a commentary to be published in the journal “Cities and Health”.
The commentary will address useful examples of visualisations and image-based tools for urban planning for health equity. Members continued to work on the commentary through plenary discussions and small group work. Furthermore, the members worked on additional material like a PowerPoint presentation, fact sheets and videos that aim to support every professional when addressing health equity in urban planning.
At the end of the day, all working group members went to a field trip to “The new Sonnenwendviertel” which is a new housing neighbourhood close the main station of Vienna.
The urban development of the new Sonnenwendviertel began in 2009/2010 on the site of a former railway station, Südbahnhof. It is a mix of subsidised social housing and privately financed housing. In the middle of the housing area is an elongated park with various opportunities for physical activity and play.
The highlight of the trip was a visit to "Gleis 21", a new residential building designed for innovative and social living. The most interesting point for the working group was to hear that the house was designed as a student residence so that areas for socialising, e.g. communal kitchen and workshop areas, could be planned and financed.
Central questions that have arisen are: How can we transfer this and develop policy recommendations? How accessible is it in terms of health equity?
During the second day, the international working group members continued working on the before mentioned products, formed small groups and agreed on timelines and how to proceed with the work. Additionally, the members started working on abstracts for the next AESOP Conference to increase the visibility of their interdisciplinary and international work.
The members of the Working Group express their warmest thanks to Magdalena Meierhofer for organising a very productive, interactive and collaborative meeting in Vienna.
Author: Patricia Tollmann, HS Gesundheit, Bochum