Journal of Urban Health, 2011
Climate change will likely exacerbate already existing urban social inequities and health risks, thereby exacerbating existing urban health inequities. Cities in low- and middle-income countries are particularly vulnerable. Urbanization is both a cause of and potential solution to global climate change. Most population growth in the foreseeable future will occur in urban areas primarily in developing countries. How this growth is managed has enormous implications for climate change given the increasing concentration and magnitude of economic production in urban localities, as well as the higher consumption practices of urbanites, especially the middle classes, compared to rural populations. There is still much to learn about the extent to which climate change affects urban health equity and what can be done effectively in different socio-political and socio-economic contexts to improve the health of urban dwelling humans and the environment. But it is clear that equity-oriented climate change adaptation means attention to the social conditions in which urban populations live—this is not just a climate change policy issue, it requires inter-sectoral action. Policies and programs in urban planning and design, workplace health and safety, and urban agriculture can help mitigate further climate change and adapt to existing climate change. If done well, these will also be good for urban health equity.