A healthy city begins with healthy residents. For us as urban designers, that’s a logical basic principle of good planning. With more and more people living in urban areas, the need to create a salubrious environment for them is only increasing. A healthy city is a vital, resilient city, equipped for the challenges of today’s world.

We work to build resilient cities by keeping human beings and their well-being at the heart of our work. We design places where residents can ride their bikes, kids can play outdoors, and neighbours can look out for each other. They’re places that make people comfortable physically and socially and encourage healthy lifestyles in as many ways as possible. Change takes courage, though. By clearly showing the health benefits to be gained through different, sometimes new choices, we lower the barriers for others, helping to improve the city further.

So-called green-blue structures are of incalculable value when it comes to healthy urbanisation. They make intelligent use of a city’s large and small green spaces, such as parks and links to nearby natural areas, as well as its bodies of water. It all helps to promote a healthy balance of peace and urban buzz.

“By clearly showing the health benefits, we lower the barriers for others, helping to improve the city further.”

A handbook for healthy spatial thinking

The toolbox we created to foster healthy urbanisation outlines the basic principles underlying this necessary revolution. How can public space design exert a positive effect on people’s well-being? We hope the principles will ultimately lead to a new Neufert – a handbook bringing together spatial thinking and human health.

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The Netherlands’ fittest province

What does the province of Zuid-Holland – currently the Netherlands’ unhealthiest – have to do to become its healthiest? That question spurred an ambitious study we conducted with the province and TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research. If the province is to remain a pleasant place to live, work and play in the future, a healthy environment will be an important precondition. With the help of analysis and four narratives, we map out a path to a province full of fit, energetic residents.

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Inviting tidal landscape

A new sand trap is being built in the river Schijn as part of Antwerp’s Oosterweel link project. Solid concrete elements in the water and on the bank form paths, open areas, seats, stairs and ramps. The water level changes with time, so elements are sometimes submerged. Vegetation adds visual relief and colour, turning this variable world into an artificial tidal landscape.

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A green centre

Part of the plan for the Groene Singel, Park Brialmont serves Berchem, part of central Antwerp. Like many inner-city districts, Berchem is short on play areas and outdoor space. This new neighbourhood park provides residents with a place to play, an urban farming area, and a barbecue grill, plus a unique bridge to the Brilschanspark on the other side of the ring road.

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Healthy Urbanisation


Your surroundings have an impact on the health of your body and mind. A clean and pleasant environment that encourages salutary choices ensures that people will feel – and be – healthier. With more and more residents in urban areas, it’s high time we shifted the focus back onto designing vital cities for fit people. This video shows how PosadMaxwan is working to build healthy cities – one of the most important tasks of the present moment.

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