Why Cities?

When one in six Americans calls a big city home, our country has a real opportunity on our hands. Because if we run cities right—with policies proven to give more people a fair shot at health, productivity and success—we stand do more than just improve 48 million lives. We show that any city—no matter its size or challenges—can help create opportunities for healthier living.

The facts are in: the places we live have profound effects on our health, well-being, and chances of future success. At the end of the day, preventing illness, saving lives, and being healthy isn’t just about seeing a doctor when you’re sick—it’s about the world you live in the rest of the time. Personal decisions account for a lot, but your community’s public decisions matter, too.

The problem is that across the country, and even in the same state, American cities are an uneven patchwork of policies when it comes to what’s proven to make them safer, healthier, and more vibrant places to live. City decision makers don’t always have a clear blueprint for what works. Many worry the best fixes won’t be affordable in tough economic times, or that they could never compete with their bigger, wealthier peers.

CityHealth.org aims to change all of that. We believe smart policies are the great equalizer, and that all cities should have same chance at solutions that can make them the healthiest, most thriving places they can be. We believe in starting local—with the policies and places closest to our day-to-day lives. And we believe cities can lead the way when it comes to innovations that give everyone the opportunity to lead healthy, productive lives.

So the question is: what do cities need to know—and do—to be the healthiest places they can be?