Health is defined in the World Health Organisation (WHO) Constitution as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (WHO, 1948). It is a fundamental human right and the attainment of the highest possible level of health is the most important world wide goal. Realisation requires the involvement of many other sectors in addition to the health sector. This poses a challenge not only to the construction sector including architects, planners, engineers and builders but also to society and communities. Many studies to date which have been conducted internationally have explored contemporary challenges for promoting both healthy patterns of living and environmentally conscious architecture should be taken up within our cities.
This paper will present the findings of a case study of an area in Sligo town which will examine the different features of the urban neighbourhood that combine to provide an environment that promotes physical activity, a healthy existence and social engagement. The paper will also present the findings of the case study relating to urban neighbourhood on a number of different themes. Furthermore the paper will demonstrate the methodological approach of meta analysis which will be employed to explore the themes and meet the aims and objectives of the project.
The study is being conducted by researchers from the Department of Engineering and the Department of Humanities in the Institute of Technology, Sligo in collaboration with Sligo Borough Council. It forms part of a wider research which is being conducted around human health, well being and the urban & natural environment. The paper will present empirical research findings relating to the links between urban neighbourhoods and a range of quality of life issues, in particular health. The findings, broken down by theme will identify gaps in knowledge including the over reliance on self-reported environmental data where relevant.
The research will also address some of the critical issues in relation to environmental attributes that effect health and well being of occupants of urban neighbourhoods such as Walkable neighbourhoods, Accessible resources, Urban Greenspace, Neighbourhood safety, Design features and Effectiveness of interventions to the physical environment.