Our vision is to be a leader in creating a healthy and equitable European city

Healthy Cities 21st Century


  • The fourth annual WHO Belfast Healthy Cities Awards has taken place with organisations being recognised for their work aimed at tackling health inequality and promoting wellbeing in Belfast.

    The Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Brian Kingston presented awards to winning and highly commended projects in four categories: Promoting Health Equity; Engaging for Change; Healthy Places; Healthy Living.

  • The first joint meeting of UK Healthy Cities Network and National Healthy Cities and Counties of Ireland Network, took place in Belfast on Thursday 1 December.  The two networks then joined together with the Healthy Ageing Task Force for the final session of their 2 day meeting.

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  • The ninth meeting of the World Health Organization European Healthy Cities Task Force is currently taking place in Belfast, hosted by Belfast Healthy Cities. 

  • A supportive built environment contributes to everyone’s health and wellbeing. Children and older people are two key groups who particularly benefit from environments that provide easy access to services and encourage active living and social interaction. Children and older people tend to spend more time in their local neighbourhoods than others, and can therefore contribute valuable knowledge and expertise of how local spaces work. Both groups, however, have specific needs that need to be taken into consideration in planning the built environment.

  • The built environment can contribute to mental wellbeing, or affect other risk factors for poor mental wellbeing. This seminar, in partnership with North Belfast Partnership, explored how the built environment shapes wellbeing, and focused on ways in which planning can help create environments that support positive mental wellbeing. It also considered the ways in which local communities can help inform and guide this process. 

    Delegates heard presentations from The Conservation Volunteers, Belfast Healthy Cities, Ligoniel Healthy Living Centre and Prosocial Place.

  • This seminar explored the role that green space has to play in improving wellbeing, including physical activity as well as mental and social wellbeing with a focus on the ways in which planning can help safeguard, develop and increase green space, and the ways in which local communities can get involved.

  • This second seminar in the Healthy Places, Healthy People series, gave an overview of how transport can contribute to healthy, vibrant and prosperous neighbourhoods, including examples of existing good practice. Planning can play an important role in improving connectivity and promoting more sustainable patterns of transport and travel as part of the transition to a low carbon economy. Active travel and more sustainable forms of travel can help tackle health issues such as obesity and support physical activity and mental health.

  • liveable city contains complete communities with mixed‐use and affordable housing well connected to jobs, education, services and leisure venues. This first seminar in a series of five on Healthy Places, Healthy People,  explored how planning can contribute to creating people oriented neighbourhoods, and how local communities can help inform this process. 

  • Pupils at St Paul’s Primary School in west Belfast have used their voice to improve their local neighbourhood following an initiative from Belfast Healthy Cities, the World Health Organization body in Northern Ireland.

  • Representing WHO Secretariat, Joan Devlin is pictured at the Regions for Health Network meeting in Kaunas, Lithuania with WHO European Regional Director Zsuzsanna Jakab and Swedish RHN representative Elisabeth Bengtsson.

  • Belfast Healthy Cities sign up to support Sustainable Development Goal of Reducing Inequalities at the recent WHO Healthy Cities Coordinators training session in Turku, Finland.

  • Belfast Healthy Cities facilitated KidsSpace at the city’s annual Culture Night on Friday 16 September.  KidsSpace encourages children to play and use space freely.  Once again we were supported by community artists and Jump, Jiggle and Jive in Buoys Park, Cathedral Quarter. 

  • Children's Voices, Children's Places Event 20 June 2016

    Local children were given a voice on the development of Child Friendly Places at the Children’s Voices, Children’s Places event which took place at Belfast City Hall where more than 250 primary school children took the opportunity to set out their priorities and question local decision makers. Participants were welcomed by The High Sheriff, Jim Rodgers and also featured teachers and pupils from Greece as well as policy experts in the field.

  • Low health literacy has real effects on health and illness; people with low health literacy levels make more mistakes with medication or treatment. Those people also rate their health as lower and are more likely to have unhealthy lifestyles. In Northern Ireland 18% of working age adults perform at the lowest literacy levels.

  • Belfast Healthy Cities participated in the recent WHO European Healthy Cities National Network meeting, where City Coordinators were introduced to Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director and other newly appointed WHO Healthy Cities personnel.

  • Belfast Healthy Cities launched its 2016 Election Briefing to political representatives at Stormont to outline its priorities and the significant role MLAs can play in advancing the main issues affecting health and wellbeing across Northern Ireland.  Topics highlighted included Healthy Life Expectancy; Health Literacy and Championing Health in all Ages.  Belfast Healthy Cities looks forward to working with all political parties to address these important issues.

  • The role of new technology in helping to deliver a modern health service and address health inequalities was at the centre of a major seminar in Belfast today.

    The seminar was hosted by the WHO body, Belfast Healthy Cities and was part of a series focused on sharing learning from Belfast Healthy Cities’ Finnish colleagues in the WHO European Network. Alongside speakers from Finland there were contributions from Northern Ireland, Wales.

  • Belfast Healthy Cities is offering an annual bursary throughout WHO European Healthy Cities Phase VI (2014-2019). It will allow individuals working in the field of health and wellbeing, including healthy urban planning and design, to visit another WHO European Healthy City or National Network to study their approach to addressing a key issue relating to health inequalities.

    The bursary is open to applicants living or working in Belfast from all sectors including community, voluntary, public and business sectors.

  • Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín opened the latest capacity building seminar from Belfast Healthy Cities at The MAC in Belfast.

    Belfast Healthy Cities invited Finnish colleagues from the city of Turku, a member of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network to share their experiences of embedding cultural activities for health and wellbeing in the city, while local examples were also used to demonstrate how cultural activities have contributed to positively energising communities, contributing to good health and wellbeing.

  • The 2015 bursary proved a popular and competitive process. Reflecting the quality of proposals submitted, it was awarded jointly to Stephanie Thompson, South Belfast Partnership, who studied drug and alcohol policy in Glasgow and Jelena Buick, Belfast City Council who travelled to Barcelona to examine innovative approaches to addressing food and fuel poverty. Both award holders presented their findings at the Belfast Healthy Cities Annual General Meeting in February 2015.

  • Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín welcomed participants to Shaping Places for Healthy Lives , which examined how the places we live in shape our lives, our health and our wellbeing.
    Other speakers included, Leo Kosonen, former Chief Planner of Kuopio (Finland), Sandy Robinson, Principal Architect of the Scottish Government and Phil Williams, Director of Planning and Place, Belfast City Council.

    Presentations from the seminar, which was organised in partnership with the Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) are now available.

  • The WHO Belfast Healthy City Awards were presented in Belfast by Deputy Lord Mayor, Cllr. Guy Spence.

    The winners were
    Healthy Living Award, Studio 5 CIC NI
    Promoting Health Equity Award, Shopmobility Belfast Ltd
    Healthy Places Award , College Park Avenue Residents Association
    Engaging for Change, CLARE CIC

Belfast Healthy City Awards 2015

Belfast Healthy City Awards

Awards were presented in Promoting Health Equity; Healthy Places; Healthy Living and Engaging for Change.

View this year's winners >

Reuniting Planning and Health Resource

Resource Pack

A resource pack for elected members, planners and public health practitioners and others who want to learn more about the links between planning and health.

Find out more >

Reuniting Planning and Health Presentations


Speakers included Riccardo Marini, Gehl Architects and Gabriel Scally, WHO.

Find out more >

Contact Details

Belfast Healthy Cities - Company Reg No NI31042 - Registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC100587
Registered Office: Gordon House, 22-24 Lombard Street, Belfast BT1 1RD
T: +44 28 9032 8811