Governing for health in global cities: lessons for, and from, London

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Read the final report

We've published the final report from this project: The role of cities in improving population health: international insights.

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Why we did this project

More than 8 in 10 people in England live in cities or towns. The urban environment creates hazards for health but also significant opportunities for health improvement. As part of our work on population health systems, The King’s Fund explored what a successful place-based approach to health in cities could look like.

City governance has an important impact on health and wellbeing. The health of urban residents is determined in part by how decisions are made within public authorities, and what powers and responsibilities sit at various levels. This includes decisions about urban planning, the built environment, transport, economic development, housing, policing and many other factors, in addition to decisions about the health care system itself.

The focus of this project was learning for, and from, London, home to more than 8.5 million people. The capital is unique among UK cities in terms of its size, diversity and complexity. We aimed to understand what London can learn from other major global cities in relation to population health improvement. We also captured lessons from recent work in London that other cities may benefit from.

We hope that the project will support leaders in London and elsewhere to develop successful approaches for population health improvement in complex urban environments.

What we did

The project involved three main components:

  • reviewing evidence from London and other global cities
  • conducting interviews with key decision-makers in London
  • testing our emerging findings with stakeholders in London.



Chris Naylor

Senior Fellow


David Buck

Senior Fellow

Key milestones

A report was published in June 2018.

Read the report >