To make—in partnership with other SPHERE Strategic Platforms and Clinical Academic Groups, UNSW, UTS, WSU, LHDs, and other aligned partner organisations—a significant change to public health and urban policy development and planning at the national and state level, through evidence-based research, educational strategies, and translation of knowledge.
There is an increased recognition within the NSW government, and internationally, that health precincts and health infrastructure are not just a cluster of facilities and services, and need to be developed and managed so that they can better support the health and wellbeing of the communities, patients and staff that utilise them. This requires a greater awareness of not only how health facilities, services, and offerings can be improved, but also:
how their public spaces can be improved,
how they can be better linked to their service region, and
how they can be developed so that they better respond to their broader socioeconomic, cultural and environmental context.
We are developing diverse tools to improve the development and management of health precincts and health infrastructure so that they can better support the health and wellbeing of the communities, patients and staff that utilise them.
Equity and the determinants of health
The determinants of health—which may be social, economic, environmental, and cultural among others—impact some groups in the population more than others. This means that some groups are inequitably burdened with the likelihood of experiencing illness, disease and injury over the life course. We work to influence policy and practice that can help level the playing field, to help ensure sections of the population are not disadvantaged by their individual circumstances that contribute to unhealthy lifestyles and negative health outcomes.
Sustainability and the environment
As we transition to a net-zero future, there is a need to encourage and implement sustainable practices. This includes within the healthcare sector, where adjustments to current practices may not only contribute to this net zero transition but also improve the efficiencies of how care and support is provided. This includes longer-term views and foresight into how we—as individuals and as systems—can be better prepared for and adapt to emergencies such as climate change or a pandemic, as well as mitigate the challenges ahead.
Place-based planning for health precincts in NSW: Discussion paper
With support from HUE, the Institute of Sustainable Futures has developed a paper for Health Infrastructure NSW to facilitate discussions on NSW health precincts.
HUE has started research into health precincts in South West Sydney Local Health District, with the focus on: Does hospital/healthcare infrastructure, directly or indirectly, impact on the health of patients, staff, their social networks and the wider community?
Place-based Health Interventions in NSW - A rapid review of evidence
This report describes a rapid review exercise on the place-based intervention approaches to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes of residents in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW). The aim of this exercise is to inform the Cancer Institute NSW on their future policy and program developments in cancer prevention and screening. Specifically, it seeks to answer the following research questions: 1. What place-based interventions for health promotion and risk prevention and screening currently exist in NSW? 2. How effective have these interventions been in achieving their stated objectives?
Facilitating physical and non-physical connections to Country among older Aboriginal peoples living in urban Australia
This project (funded by the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute as part of its 2022 seed grant program) investigates how traditional walaays (ceremonial camps) and Augmented Reality technology may assist older, urban-living Aboriginal people to reconnect with Country, and contribute to cultural healing.
Land Use Planning for Equitable Health Outcomes (LUPEHO)
Partnersing with UNSW Sydney's Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation, this project (commissioned by the Western Sydney Health Alliance) reviews the development of healthy planning principles in Australia and internationally, assesses how land use planning instruments at the NSW State and local government levels align with and operationalise 12 healthy planning principles, and proposes a set of indicators that will assist the Alliance to benchmark and monitor health equity outcomes in the Western Parkland City.
It finds that, while Australian healthy planning guidelines lead in considering healthy equity and outcomes, these are not necessarily translated to land use planning instruments and guidance. Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) were more likely to have considered healthy planning principles and issues of equity than State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs). There are also notable gaps in data that limit the ongoing monitoring of health equity outcomes across different population groups.
Government agencies and alliance groups should advocate for greater integration of healthy planning principles and equity in these land use planning instruments, including in conjnction with other social and community planning programs.
Inclusive place-based planning for LGBTQIA+ communities
This project (funded by the UNSW Ageing Futures Institute as part of its 2023 seed grant program) will identify the care and support needs of older people at the intersection of age, ethnicity and sexuality, to uncover how their needs are currently supported by formal services and informal networks. We will do this through a mixed-method approach, by analysing and mapping data from the NSW Gay Asian Men Survey Series and the GEN Aged Care Data, and gaining insights into the through in-depth interviews with non-heterosexual men of Asian backgrounds living in Australia as well as stakeholders. The outcomes will inform government and industries on how they may develop strategies to better support diverse, ageing populations.
A copy of the Project Information Statement can be downloaded here.
Conceptualising unhealthy urban places: The need for a systems approach
Edgar Liu, Malgorzata Lagisz, Andrew Reid, Evelyne de Leeuw
HUE's submission to the Measuring What Matters public consultation
HUE recently contributed to the Australian Treasury's Measuring What Matters public consultation. We applaud the incumbent government's aspirations to recognise more than just economic activities and prosperities, and pay attention to other aspects that contribute to good and healthy life too. You can read our submission here.
Groundbreaking report on Sustainability and Health that should inspire us
“Drawing light from the pandemic: a new strategy for health and sustainable development - A review of the evidence” for the Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development.
In 2020 Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe, asked Mario Monti to lead a Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development. Dr Kluge and Professor Monti invited a small number of former heads of state and government, distinguished life scientists and economists, heads of health and social care institutions, and leaders of the business community and financial institutions from across the European Region to bring together their outstanding expertise and experience to “rethink policy priorities in the light of pandemics".
'Envisaging the Future of Cities'- World Cities Report 2022
World Cities Report 2022: Envisaging the Future of Cities seeks to provide greater clarity and insights into the future of cities based on existing trends, challenges and opportunities, as well as disruptive conditions, including the valuable lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, and suggest ways that cities can be better prepared to address a wide range of shocks and transition to sustainable urban futures. The Report proposes a state of informed preparedness that provides us with the opportunity to anticipate change, correct the course of action and become more knowledgeable of the different scenarios or possibilities that the future of cities offers.
In 2016, the international community adopted the New Urban Agenda to harness the power of sustainable urbanization to achieve our global goals of peaceful, prosperous societies on a healthy planet.
Despite progress since then, the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises have posed huge challenges. Urban areas were particularly hard hit by the pandemic – underscoring the importance of stepping up efforts to build a more sustainable and equitable urban future.
Local is the space where we connect the dots. Cities and towns can spearhead innovations to bridge the inequalities gaps, deliver climate action and ensure a green and inclusive recovery from the pandemic – especially as the proportion of people living in urban areas is projected to grow to 68 per cent by 2050.
The World Cities Report 2022 stresses that building resilience must be at the heart of the cities of the future. The success of cities, towns and urban areas will largely depend on policies that protect and sustain all, leaving no one behind. We need green investment for sustainable patterns of consumption and production; responsive and inclusive urban planning; the prioritization of public health; and innovation and technology for all.
These steps will help cities adapt and respond to shocks and stresses and lead our world to a resilient, just, and sustainable urban future.
António Guterres Secretary-General of the United Nations
ABOUT MARIDULU BUDYARI GUMAL, SPHERE
We are Maridulu Budyari Gumal, the Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise (SPHERE). Fourteen leading organisations on a mission to come together to solve this century’s biggest health challenges and move healthcare into the future. Each partner is world-renowned for research, innovation and education. Each has specialist healthcare knowledge and a heritage of game-changing initiatives to their name. We’re building on this work, taking the best from each discipline to change the way we do healthcare – for good. As partners, we are committed to working together in a spirit of collaboration. To accelerating life-changing research. To reducing healthcare costs and increasing healthcare value. To inspiring and training the next generation of health professionals. To improving economic prosperity in our region. And to creating real world benefits for our patients and communities.