Towards a systems approach to urban health and wellbeing | Duke Kunshan University
Towards a systems approach to urban health and wellbeing
Dr. Franz W. Gatzweiler

Executive director, Institute of Urban Environment at the Chinese Academy of Science, Xiamen

Sep 07th 2016 12:00 to 13:00
Room 1079, Academic Building

Summary of Talk:

Cities are humans’ dominant habitat and urbanization is currently one of the most profound global development forces. As urbanization trends are projected to continue, reaching the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires cities to be sustainable by ensuring the health and wellbeing of its inhabitants. Human health and wellbeing in cities is closely linked to the structure and function of cities providing a wide range of benefits for human health and wellbeing and being supported by the global ecosystem. Without a systems approach to urban health and wellbeing, the sustainable development goals are unlikely to be achieved.

A Systems Analysis Approach to urban health and wellbeing proposes a conceptual model for understanding how human health and wellbeing can be achieved in cities, perceived as complex adaptive systems. It suggests an inter- and transdisciplinary approach, guiding principles and thematic areas for a range of implementation activities.

The vision of the programme, are cities functioning as integrated complex systems which sustainably provide benefits for the health and wellbeing of its residents. The programme aims at promoting and coordinating research projects, developing methodologies and identifying data needs, building and strengthening capacity and communicating new knowledge on systems approaches to urban health and wellbeing.


Brief Biography:

Dr. Franz W. Gatzweiler studied Agricultural Economics at the University of Bonn and the Humboldt University of Berlin. His doctorate research was on the ‘Nature of Economic Value and the Value of Nature’. Franz received stipends and research grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), the Volkswagen Foundation, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research and the Käthe-Humburger Kolleg. He was research fellow at the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, USA established by nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom. Franz Gatzweiler has earned a habilitation (fakultas docendi) for the discipline of resource economics from the Humboldt University of Berlin. His research interests lie at the edge of ecological, economic and social sciences and have covered problems of value in complex socio-ecological, living systems, institutions and institutional change in polycentric organization, marginality and technology innovations for productivity growth in rural development. He was senior researcher at the Center of Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany from 2004-2014. Currently he is executive director of the ICSU-IAMP-UNU sponsored global programme on “Urban Health and Wellbeing: a Systems Approach”, based at the Institute of Urban Environment at the Chinese Academy of Science, Xiamen, China. More information, including on publications and international research collaboration, is available on the not regularly updated webpage:

Global Health Research Center