Human beings spent the majority of our time living in rural areas, first as hunters and foragers, then as sedentary agriculturalists. Cities and urban lifestyle only became predominant in the recent 1000+ years. As our cities grow larger and more than half of the world’s population nowadays are urban dwellers, public health becomes one of the top items on political and social agenda. Urban health continuously draws attention from both academia and the public. Healthy city is a criterion for successful urban development and a process to pursue community well-being. Adopting the lens of environmental and social justice and taking advantage of spatial analysis methods, this talk will discuss selected health challenges encountered by some cities in the Western World, including air pollution, food security, urban gentrification, and health facility and health care access. It will highlight urban health as a place (versus space) issue where specific populations and context must be considered.
Yongmei Lu, PhD, is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Texas State University. Her research and teaching interests fall under the broad umbrella of Geographic Information Science (GIScience) and the application of spatial analysis and modeling to examining how population well-being is shaped by human-environment interaction. Specific topical areas include health and healthcare access, food security, urban development and health challenges, and crime and criminal behavior. Professor Lu has published extensively, including about 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, edited and co-edited special journal issues, and book volumes. Professor Lu’s research has been funded by federal, state, and local agencies. Professor Lu served as the President of the International Association of Chinese Professionals in GIScience (CPGIS). She currently chairs the Research Committee of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS). Professor Lu actively promotes and participates in various international collaboration and exchange projects. She served as a visiting professor at multiple universities overseas. She is a member on the International Board for the newly established Graduate School for Creative Approaches to Public Space (GS-CAPS), Rennes 2 University, France.