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Cities and the Health of the Public

Editor(s): Nicholas Freudenberg, Sandro Galea, David Vlahov

The essays commissioned for this book analyze the impact of city living on health, focusing primarily on conditions in the United States. With 16 chapters by 24 internationally recognized experts, the book introduces an ecological approach to the study of the health of urban populations.

This book assesses the primary determinants of well-being in cities, including the social and physical environments, diet, and health care and social services. The book includes chapters on the history of public health in cities, the impact of urban sprawl and urban renewal on health, and the challenges facing cities in the developing world. It also examines conditions such as infectious diseases, violence and disasters, and mental illness.

Biography of Editor(s)

Nicholas Freudenberg is Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Social Psychology, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
Sandro Galea is Associate Professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health University of Michigan.
David Vlahov is Director of the Center for Urban Epidemiological Studies, New York Academy of Medicine and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Urban Health.


  • "The relationship between urban residence and health is highly complex, and it is becoming increasingly so . . . This difficult subject is addressed in this book . . . a book that will be of interest to social scientists but also worth consulting for physicians with practices that involve urban health."
    --New England Journal of Medicine
  • ". . . a significant contribution to furthering urban public practice and research."
    --Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved
  • "The articles in Cities and the Health of the Public place contemporary threats to urban health in the context of both historical and current trends affecting city dwellers. The 16 chapters highlight mostly US urban public health issues. Contributors are prominent researchers in urban health, including leading social epidemiologist Ichiro Kawachi and psychiatrist Mindy Thompson Fullilove, whose keen scientific intellect and lyrical style add flesh and blood to her descriptions of people displaced by natural and human-caused calamities. Issues covered include access to health care, food security, urban sprawl, and mental health. The editors also contribute several of the chapters. . . . All three are central to the effort to make the study of urban health and people who live in cities a scientific discipline with its own literature and organizations. . . . Cities and the Health of the Public is organized . . . like an introductory textbook . . . those who are interested in urban health will find it to be a valuable resource.
    --Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
  • ". . . a wonderful synthesis of recent scholarship on urban health from a variety of disciplines. . . . it will become a classic reference text for this rapidly developing field. . . . The genius of this book is that it m makes an enormously complex subject understandable and available not only to public health practitioners but to those in medicine, nursing, social work, and the wide spectrum of disciplines that are necessary to understand and improve the health of the world's communities."
    --Preventive Medicine