Cities of Opportunity
Healthy People, Thriving Communities

Cities of Opportunity provides a holistic framework for local elected officials and municipal leaders to advance health and wellbeing for their cities and residents by working across multiple, inter-connected factors that affect how long we live and how well we live. This framework:

  • Highlights factors that affect how long we live and how well we live, including housing, economic opportunity, planning & design.
  • Promotes an interdisciplinary city approach for healthy people and vibrant communities.
  • Addresses root causes of inequities in communities.
  • Aligns issues that cities manage every day that affect:
    • their residents’ health, economic security and upward mobility, and
    • their city’s competitiveness, economic strength and civic wellbeing.

The Impetus

Many factors (known as social determinants of health) produce a variety of opportunities or obstacles that affect the health and wellbeing of people and places.

  • Neighborhood characteristics, and the Affordability and Healthfulness of Housing significantly affect health outcomes.
  • Good Jobs directly shape access to income and associated benefits and conditions: health care, paid leave, housing, healthy food and exercise, safe neighborhoods and working conditions.
  • Racism and Discrimination — regardless of income level — impact economic mobility, school achievement, jobs, housing, neighborhood and health. Residents experience more hardship, have less coping mechanisms, and face chronic, toxic stress with cumulative damaging effects on health.
  • Economic mobility, education, jobs, neighborhood safety, connectedness and design — have multi-generational impact on health.
  • In addition, the effects are multi-directional: city residents’ health and wellbeing also affect educational achievement and prospects for economic mobility, employment choice and income.
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