Healthy Cities

To help prevent health crises before they happen, we need forward-looking science that both anticipates problems and offers solutions, especially in a world that is urbanizing quickly. Factors such as overcrowding, air pollution, noise, and a lack of access to nature contribute to the emotional and physical stress of urban life. As cities continue to grow, we need to design our buildings, neighborhoods, and commons to promote human health.  

We face enormous challenges in creating cleaner and more efficient ways to build systems that keep our cities running—such as housing, energy, and transportation—while also creating the conditions that ensure residents’ physical and emotional wellbeing.

The Center’s Healthy Cities program combines rigorous academic research with innovative tools to help create sustainable built environments that positively impact the health of urban residents.

Meet the Team

Jack Spengler

John D. Spengler, Ph.D.

Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Original Research

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Program Resources

Replacing the Clean Power Plan with an “Inside the Fence Line” Alternative Would Do More Harm than Doing Nothing

Cities and States Must Take Lead on Climate Change

Using Tourism Revenue to Strengthen Local Communities

Maximizing the Health Benefits of Landscapes


Latest News

Healthy Urban Sustainability Symposium in Shanghai

John SpenglerWhat better backdrop for discussing healthy urban sustainability than a mega-city of 24 million, where the pace of urban growth and change has visibly and measurably impacted human and environmental health?  Suitably, Shanghai, China served as the host city for the Center for Health and the Global Environment’s (CHGE) May 17-18, 2016 symposium on “Building Leadership for Healthy Urban Sustainability,” held at the Harvard Center Shanghai, with sponsorship from the Harvard China Fund.... Read more about Healthy Urban Sustainability Symposium in Shanghai



Natural Gas Infrastructure


With growing pressure to reduce harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, natural gas has emerged as a potentially attractive alternative to coal. As our reliance on natural gas has grown, so too has attention to what its use will mean for the environment and human health.... Read more about Natural Gas Infrastructure

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In the Media

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Upcoming Events

Courses We Teach

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