Posted on November 12, 2014

The 68th United Nations General Assembly designated 31 October each year to be ‘World Cities Day.’ On 31 October 2014, the celebration ceremony of the first World Cities Day was held at the Shanghai Expo Center in China, co-hosted by UN-HABITAT, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of China, and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. The theme was ‘Transformation and Development of Cities.’ ISF President David Webber attended this meeting on behalf of the International Self-Care Foundation, which was a sponsoring organisation of one of six Forums linked to World Cities Day – an International Healthy Cities Forum. He gave a presentation entitled ‘Role of Self-Care in Establishment of Healthy Cities.’

Self-care by definition exists largely outside of a country’s healthcare system.  An important axis of self-care is the individual, the family, the community – and the city. By the year 2050, an estimated 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities, up from 34% in 1960 and 54% in 2014 (WHO/UN-HABITAT 2010). The ability of people to self-care in cities is therefore an important consideration, and a city’s encouragement (or discouragement) of self-care is therefore of significance.  Urban determinants of self-care include socioeconomic, cultural and environmental considerations – the number of parks & allotments, length of cycle lanes, swimming pools, extent of smoking bans, public facilities such as libraries, health centres, clinics and pharmacies, health food shops, sanitation and refuse disposal, public health campaigns etc…

The picture shows ISF President David Webber with Professor Jie Chen, Fudan University, at the opening ceremony for World Cities Day in the Shanghai Expo Centre.

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