Planning for Pedestrian Health!

Pedestrian environments expand public transportation usage(1), help regenerate and cool the natural environment, and protect the health of people of all ages and abilities.

With UrbanCare we aim to: 

  • Make the Urban Health concept easy for everyone to understand and discuss. 
  • Make current and new urban health tools participatory, practical, and intuitive to use.
  • Join urban development projects and apply the concept and tools.

Watch UrbanCare in three minutes.

At BHL, we defined Pedestrian Health as the outcome of a vital urban ecosystem at the street level, with replenished services and products such as clean air, water, and soil.

Globally, many cities want to move away from spending on sidewalks and start investing in climate-adaptive pedestrian environments. From active-mobility planning for daily trips to liveability planning for everyone. This shift in policies and actions requires planners to develop urban environments as ecosystems for sustainability.

follow #PedestrianHealth

Streets for Urban Health
in Four Steps

UrbanCare is practical guidance for planners, managers, and designers to achieve pedestrian health with evidence-based designs.

Our tools and workflow optimize collaboration using visual thinking techniques to communicate urban health research and the benefits from compelling green technologies for streets.

Two steps define the needs …

Obstacles to slower pedestrians and street ecosystem issues are carefully studied.

UrbanCare assists city makers compile information crucial to developing site-specific plans for pedestrian health. When the info is not available, BHL gathers it with field studies and surveys.

I. Gap Finder

We first review the environmental and population health-related data available.

Mobility needs and requirements
• Vulnerable population characteristics
• Priority locations and services
Mobility plans
• Active travel network
• Public transportation network
Biodiversity plan baseline descriptions
• Habitats
• Species
Watergy plans
• Evapotranspiration model
• Urban cooling concept
Heat mitigation plans
• Shade analyses
• Thermal maps
Policy and governance
• Regulatory and guidelines
• Stakeholders and power structure

II. Diagnostics

Then survey for ecosystem factors at the street level to complete the evidence.

Neighborhood priority locations and environments
• Active and travel environment
• Medical landscape
• Food environment
• Social environment
Spatial inequity
• User persona definition
• 360° immersive persona journeys
Street-level stormwater runoff
• Retention surface characteristics
• Detention surface characteristics
Biotope index calculation
• Fragmentation level
• Biodiversity richness
Heat reports
• Heat spots using thermal imaging
• Heat hazzards along journeys with thermal reports

two steps more solve the problems.

Case-specific exercises are tailored to assist stakeholder communication and transdisciplinary co-working.

UrbanCare helps planners and designers align goals for urban sustainability with those for urban health. Our mission is to enrich projects with evidence and visual outputs to convince city decision-makers and urban developers to act faster. 

III. Planning

Mapping exercises help planners align city policies, goals, and resources for sustainability and health.

Policy (National/Local)
• Government structure
• Decision-making processes
• Implementation actions
Technical capacity
• Research institutions
• Specialists by area
• Capacity-building agencies
Economic investment
• Public
• Private

IV. Design

With the evidence, we assist designers build visions of urban health to accelerate decision-making.

Pedestrian priority
• Diversity and inclusion picture puzzles
• Slow groups pedestrian loops
Water diagrams
• Cooling spots
• Drinking water diagrams
• Biotope continuity
• Green canopies
• Biodiversity product supply chains
Heat mitigation
• Vitamin D spatial charts

We teach UrbanCare.

Assist in applying it.

Help manage projects from concept to creation.

UrbanCare cases under development across Europe

A healthy neighborhood in Berlin, Germany

A climate-friendly medical campus in Florence, Italy

A medical neighborhood in Nicosia, Cyprus

A healthy hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden

UrbanCare cooperation partners

a practical framework to develop streetscapes for pedestrian health.

Alvaro Valera Sosa (2021)

Project development

BHL Building Health Lab
Alvaro Valera Sosa: Conceptualization, Methodology, Investigation, Analyses

Webpage Credits

BHL Building Health Lab
Alvaro Valera Sosa: Original draft, Writing-reviewing, Editing, Design, Administration.
Netra Naik: Original draft contribution; Software, Data curation.
Julia Reißinger: Software, Data curation.

Links and sources of interest












12. Li, X. L. (2019). Urban heat island impacts on building energy consumption: a review of approaches and findings. Elsevier, 1–43.



15. Jekel and Sieker. (2010). Technical University of Berlin Dept. of Water Quality Control, Rainwater management for urban drainage, groundwater recharge and storage.

16. Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin. (2014). Business in Berlin Supports Biodiversity Recommendations for Action – A Guide.


18. Parris. (2018). The seven lamps of planning for biodiversity in the city. Cities. Published.