According to research by Susan Thompson and Gregory Paine, lower income and disadvantaged households feel the negative impacts of high density living more than others. They conclude that “blindly pursuing a uniform denser city agenda will only reinforce and exacerbate health inequalities”.
The concept of universal design captures the healthy built environment agenda along all other aspects of urban planning and design. Steinfeld and Maisel (2012) define universal design as “a process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation”.
Urban environments should be suitable for all, not just for some. See the article, which first featured in The Fifth Estate, for more detail. Susan Thompson and Gregory Paine are part of the City Futures Research Centre at University of New South Wales.