Healthy Cities Movement

Healthy Cities Movement

Emerging from the First International Conference on Health Promotion was the Ottawa Charter (1986), and associated with this was the concept of Healthy Cities.

The Healthy Cities approach recognised that underlying social, economic and environmental conditions are all critical to the ability of people to experience optimal health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) supported the development of Healthy Cities around the globe. In Europe, this has been a structured, phased process with cities working to meet a range of health indicators which are defined in each phase. For more information on European Healthy Cities

The holistic, collaborative philosophy of Healthy Cities has held great appeal for thousands of cities, towns and islands throughout the world which have implemented policies and programs around the Healthy Cities approach. In 2003, with the support of the WHO Western Pacific Region, the AHC (Alliance for Healthy Cities) was formed. This Alliance, which provides an opportunity for international exchange between Healthy Cities in the region, has grown rapidly and now has over 130 city members. Healthy Cities Illawarra is also a member of the the steering committee.


In Australia, three pilot Healthy Cities programs were established in 1987. These were located in Canberra, Noarlunga and in the Illawarra region. In 2007, an Australian Chapter of the International Alliance for Healthy Cities was formed and there are now 8 member cities and organisations.

Resources and Documents

The Milan Declaration on Healthy Cities 1990

Athens Declaration for Healthy Cities 1998