HealthBridge works with partners world-wide to improve health and health equity through research, policy and action.

Projects: Livable Cities

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Current Projects


Promoting environment-friendly livable cities in Bangladesh

Location: Bangladesh

Timeline: Ongoing

Program: Livable Cities

The health of the Bangladeshi population is greatly affected by the state of its cities.  As Bangladesh tries to tackle major problems such as climate change, non-communicable diseases, road safey, and air pollution, ensuring cities are livable is critically important. This program, implemented by HealthBridge partner Work for a Better Bangladesh, focuses on achieving outcomes in three main areas:

  • Pedestrian Rights - Pedestrians are of vital importance to a city and yet they face many obstacles to moving safely, easily and conveniently. WBB is working with local groups to advocate for ways to remove these…

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India: Livable Cities Project

Location: India

Timeline: Ongoing

Program: Livable Cities

HealthBridge’s local partner in India, the Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF), focuses on improving the quality of life for children in urban areas. There vision for the Livable Cities program is:

“We want happy and healthy children and families in every neighborhood who have safe streets, free access to parks, playgrounds, open spaces and fun places to play.”

Currently there are programs in Bangalore, Nagpur, Thrissur, and Malappuram which are centred on three main areas:

Nepal: Livable Cities Project

Location: Kathmandu

Timeline: Ongoing

Program: Livable Cities

HealthBridge’s partner in Nepal is the Resource Centre for Primary Health Care (RECPHEC). It focuses on ensuring people’s rights to health and improving the health of urban residents.  RECPHEC’s three current priorities are: 

  • Access to Healthy Transportation – Ensuring people have pleasant, safe places to walk is important for health. It reduces injury rates and can increase physical activity levels, decreasing the risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs). (NCDs include cancers and diabetes). Such places also encourage people to move about outside, and provide more opportunities for neighbours…

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Vietnam: Livable Cities Project

Location: Vietnam

Timeline: Ongoing

Program: Livable Cities

HealthBridge Vietnam (HBV) focuses on making urban neighbourhoods more livable and conducive to healthy lifestyles. Its three main areas of work are:

Access to Parks and Public Spaces – The number of safe, accessible and fun public spaces in Vietnamese cities has been steadily decreasing, while the public is increasingly demanding that governments create and maintain public spaces. However, without a clear strategic vision, many city governments lack the resources and capacity to develop public spaces to meet these demands. HBV’s activities include research and pilot projects, working with local groups and officials in the…

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Livable Cities Niger

Location: Niger

Timeline: Ongoing

Program: Livable Cities

This program, implemented by HealthBridge partner Peaceful Roads, focuses on achieving outcomes in two main areas:

  • Pedestrian Rights - Walking is an unsafe, unpleasant experience in Niamey as there are no footpaths on most of the roads and where they do exist, they are of low quality materials,  degraded and/or occupied for other purposes. Peaceful Roads is working with local government officials and parliamentarians to adopt a Pedestrian Charter of Rights that would ensure all future development plans have specific measures to encourage walking.
  • Parks and Open Spaces - Parks are important…

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Healthy Transportation Coalition in Ottawa

Location: Ottawa, Canada

Timeline: 2014- 2018

Program: Livable Cities

The Ottawa-based Healthy Transportation Coalition is a grassroots movement of concerned citizens, organizations and businesses working together to increase active, affordable and safe transportation choices in Ottawa. Its goal is to ensure that walking, cycling and public transit are among the priorities of Canada's capital city. Its current 4-year project focuses on increasing opportunities for vulnerable populations to travel safely and conveniently throughout the city. 

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Public Spaces in Kampala Uganda

Location: Kampala, Uganda

Timeline: Ongoing

Program: Livable Cities

The number of safe, accessible and fun public spaces in Ugandan cities has been steadily decreasing, while the public is increasingly demanding that governments create and maintain public spaces. However, without a clear strategic vision, many city governments lack the resources and capacity to develop public spaces to meet these demands. HealthBridge along with our local partner, Advocates for Public Spaces, have  conducted two studies to determine the availability and quality of parks and informal spaces for active recreation in the capital city Kampala. The study reports recommended the need for a public dialogue on how to improve…

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Creating Great Public Spaces in Three African Cities

Location: Accra, Ghana; Niamey, Niger; Kampala, Uganda

Timeline: June 2017 to October 2018

Program: Livable Cities

In Africa -like in many other places in the world – public spaces are used for public life, commerce and interaction. However, lack of funds, planning, and maintenance, as well as priority for motorized vehicles, has turned many public spaces into unsafe, unforgiving and unconnected places. In addition, many public spaces are difficult to access, especially for those living in vulnerable situations.  This is especially the case for our three partner cities: Kampala, Niamey, and Accra. There is a significant lack of formal public spaces in each of these cities, particularly in the outlying areas where the slum…

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Past Projects


Assessment of the Quality of Parks and Pedestrian Environment in Arusha City, Tanzania

Location: Tanzania

Timeline: December 2014 - September 2016

Program: Livable Cities

HealthBridge's partner, Mount Meru University, is doing a study that will assess the quality of public parks and pedestrian spaces in Arusha, Tanzania. Specifically, this research intends to:

  • identify and map all available public parks in Arusha;
  • analyze the quality of the pedestrian environments around all public parks in Arusha;
  • assess the accessibility and pedestrian environment/infrastructure around public parks in Arusha; and,
  • examine the types of uses, and users, of public parks in Arusha.

This information will be used to help the city council and…

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Hanoi Youth Public Spaces

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam

Timeline: April 2013 to March 2016

Program: Livable Cities

Providing public spaces where youth can flourish is a tall order for the Vietnamese capital. This rapidly urbanizing Asian city combines some of the world’s highest densities with very limited formally-planned public spaces. Bringing together Canadian and Vietnamese researchers and HealthBridge, this study tackles the issue of youths and public space in Hanoi with the hope of contributing to the positive engagement of young Hanoians with the city where they live. In this research, we provide a picture of the evolution of public spaces in the region (in terms of overall spatial distribution, available areas, quality, and…

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Study of Informal Places in Kampala Slums where Children Play, Uganda

Location: Kampala, Uganda

Timeline: January- December 2015

Program: Livable Cities

Uganda’s densely populated slums suffer from a shortage of formal public spaces for everyday life. The spaces that are available are very informal and serve a multitude of activities, such as children’s play, commerce and socializing. In many cases these informal spaces are in a poor state, which makes them unsafe for children to play. In addition, because these spaces are informal they are not protected and could be taken away from the community and used for other purposes. Our research project, conducted in 2014, examined the quality and availability of public spaces in Kampala and…

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Actions for Livable Cities Program Success in Niger

Location: Niger

Timeline: November 2014 - April 2015

Program: Livable Cities

HealthBridge’s partner, Peaceful Roads, is focusing on creating the conditions of a successful implementation of the Livable Cities program in Niger. The livable cities program in Niger will be focused on ensuring access to healthy transportation, access to parks and public spaces, and access to healthy foods. But, in order to achieve success with the Livable Cities program, political and decision-maker support is needed. This short-term project was intended to mobilize support at the local, municipal, and national level.

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Niger: Livable Cities Project

Location: Niger

Timeline: 2014

Program: Livable Cities

Étude sur la situation des piétons à Niamey, Niger

HealthBridge’s partner, Peaceful Roads, is focusing on the quality of the pedestrian environment in Niamey. As in many rapidly growing cities, the local government is examining transportation closely; however, this does not always translate into a focus on pedestrian safety.  

To better understand the current situation, Peaceful Roads carried out a study – centred on the main commercial area in Niamey – to determine how easily, safely and comfortably pedestrians can walk in the city. They identified, described, and mapped…

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Sri Lanka: Livable Cities Project

Location: Sri Lanka

Timeline: 2014

Program: Livable Cities

Study on Public Space in Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka

HealthBridge focused on understanding the qualities of the Mount Lavinia beach, a highly successful linear neighbourhood park, in order to provide input into public space policies in Sri Lanka. 

The overall goal was to contribute to the discussion on public spaces currently underway in Sri Lanka, with a particular focus on ensuring that public spaces encouraged a wide range of activities. These included various forms of physical activity, socializing and economic activities. In addition, the study identified attributes that attract a wide range of users…

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Uganda: Livable Cities Project

Location: Uganda

Timeline: 2014

Program: Livable Cities

Public Parks in Uganda

HealthBridge’s partner, the Non-Communicable Information and Control Centre (NICC), is focused on understanding the availability and quality of parks in Kampala City. As in many rapidly growing cities, a number of Kampala’s parks are being encroached on by private developers. In addition, little is known about the park situation in the outer divisions of the city, where low-income families live.

NICC carried out a study to help start a public conversation on how to protect open spaces and parks for the people. They identified, described, and mapped…

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