Shaping urban environments to improve respiratory health: recommendations for research, planning, and policy.
The Lancet. Respiratory medicine 2023
PubMed ID : 37866374
Urban areas carry a large burden of acute (infectious) and chronic respiratory diseases due to environmental conditions such as high levels of air pollution and high population densities. Car-dominated cities often lack walkable areas, which reduces opportunities for physical activity that are fundamentally important for healthy lungs. The already restricted amount of green space available-with often poorly selected plants-could produce pollen and subsequently provoke or worsen allergic diseases. Less affluent neighbourhoods often carry a larger respiratory disease burden. A multisectoral approach with more diverse policy measures and urban innovations is needed to reduce air pollution (eg, low emission zones), to increase public space for walking and cycling (eg, low traffic neighbourhoods, superblocks, 15-minute cities, and car-free cities), and to develop green cities (eg, planting of low-allergy trees). Stricter EU air quality guidelines can push these transformations to improve the respiratory health of citizens. Advocacy by medical respiratory societies can also make an important contribution to such changes.