Participating in Health: The Healthy Outcomes of Citizen Participation in Urban and Transport Planning

  • Ersilia VerlinghieriEmail author


Ringland is crow-brained and crow-funded road tunnelling project for a six billion euro investment that has been completely initiated and developed bottom-up by local citizens. It has been proposed in response to the government’s plan to complete the ring road around the city of Antwerp, with the aim to mitigate its damaging health impacts. What can we, as academics, practitioners and decision-makers, learn from this example? How can we use participation to implement innovative decision-making practices that contribute to the construction of healthy cities? In this chapter I explore possible answers to these questions. Considering in more details the various aspect of the Ringland project and building on the literature on participation in urban and transport planning, I explore the connections between citizens’ participation and health, showing their potentials and limits in an increasingly complex world. After giving some definitions, I consider the wide benefits and limitations of participation recognised by the literature. Subsequently, I provide a summary of the main planning traditions and consider how they approach participation in different ways. I then consider the specific benefits that participation can offer to health and reflect on which would be the most appropriate planning settings and practices to allow these to take place. I propose that we build a culture of participation across society in order to do so. I conclude with a reflection on the role of academics and of participatory research to support the construction of a culture of participation.


Citizen participation Urban planning Transport planning Health Wellbeing 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Transport Studies UnitUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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