International Conference on Urban Health

International Conference on Urban Health

Just returned from New York, New York and the International Conference on Urban Health. Put on the by the International Society for Urban Health. Definitely good stuff at this conference. A few interesting notes:

I saw a few people who I had met at the CIHR Space Camp last summer.  Considering we have an article in press about the camp entitled “Challenges to interdisciplinary training for junior space, place and health researchers” it was great to see that people are continuing their work and that Space Camp was in some ways able to create interdisciplinary links among junior researchers.

Of note Mehgan Winters (fellow Space Camper) presented some interesting stuff about cycling. In particular her conceptualization of the ‘near’ cyclist. That is, someone who cycles sometimes but does not cycle as their primary mode of transportation. Interesting to think about a ‘near’ cyclist, rather than a driver or walker. Helps to reframe the question of transportation identity. Check out the cycling in cities website for more info about Mehgan’s work and the larger project.

Jeffery Sachs rocks! Great speech during the conference about the place of urban health and how the Millennium Development Goals (other than target 11 on urban slums) may focus too much on rural areas. This is important considering that current 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas and this is expected to increase to 70% by 2030. He talked about the most devastating poverty he has seen being in urban slums and in rural areas during famines.

Transportation Alternatives in New York continues to impress. They run a website called crashstat where you can view all of the crashes in New York from 1995-2005. Here are the pedestrian and cycling collisions near where I was staying in Harlem.

Those are just the highlights. Lots of really great work which I did not include. Next year, the conference is in Bela Horizonte, Brazil. Hopefully I will be able to go. 

1 Comment

  1. What’s interesting (and perplexing?) about the MDGs not focusing on urban health explicitly is that they ignore the link between rural and urban social and health issues. For example, the creation of urban slums is in great part caused by the lack of employment, environmental degradation and so on experienced by rural populations…The MDGs should probably adopt a more systemic view of the issues they seek to address.


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