World Cities: Neighborhoods, Health Systems and Population Health
Large cities are often associated with overcrowding, high rates of crime, economic inequalities and poor health. Are these conditions inevitable or can national and local policies improve the lives of city residents? In this seminar we will compare the health and health care systems of large cities around the world to better understand whether it is possible to improve public health and overcome health and health care inequalities, including inequalities among city neighborhoods. The largest cities in the world, including Hong Kong, London, Paris, New Delhi, New York, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo, share many features in common. The populations of these cities include some of the wealthiest, and some of the poorest, residents in their respective nations. The cities are centers of technology, including health care technology, and are homes to great academic medical centers. Despite these similarities, the cities we will examine exist within very different national contexts. Some of the countries in which these cities exist spend a great deal of money on public health and health care. Others spend very little on these programs. Some cities have adopted housing policies that encourage residential segregation, while others have worked to integrate neighborhoods. What are the implications of these policy differences for people living within these cities? To what extent do these cities offer each other lessons about how to improve population health? Can a comparison of these cities provide insights into the consequences of different national health policies? We will investigate these questions by reading studies by economists, demographers, geographers, urban health policy experts and urban planners. We will explore how studies in each of these disciplines and fields helps to improve our understanding of cities and how to improve the lives of city residents.