Parallel Session Themes

We are determined to end poverty and hunger, in all their forms and dimensions, and to ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality and in a healthy environment.”

(Source: UN, 2015. A/RES/70/1. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. p2/35)

Cities are arguably the best-known and largest of the settings approaches, which take a “whole system” approach to health and health equity. A setting is the contexts within which people live, love, learn, work, and play; health is made or broken in settings.

Cities face many public health challenges, from obesity, asthma, mental health issues, heart disease, to wide disparities in life expectancy, streets that discourage walking and biking, intersections that cause traffic fatalities, and disempowered communities.

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) How do we design Healthy Cities for people so that they can achieve their full potential in dignity
b) How do we design (or re-design) our cities so that they become healthy environments that promote health?
c) How do we plan urban spaces to be humane, safe?
d) How do we maintain the human scale in cities?
e) How do we design cities around people and not around automobiles?

We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations.” (Source: UN, 2015. A/RES/70/1. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. p2/35)  

With the propotion of the population living in cities set to rise from 54 per cent in 2015 to 66 per cent in 2050, there will likely be another 2.4 billion urban dwellers worldwide. The bulk of urban growth will happen across the global South, for instance in China, India and Nigeria. 

As existing cities expand, and new ones emerge, material consumption is predicted to grow even faster, presenting a huge challenge in the face of scarce resources and intensifying environmental problems including pollution and climate change. Ecology needs to be the paradigm for technological advancement if global ecosystem health is to be restored. Cities should be encouraged to innovate and experiment, and to learn from one another in order to hasten this transition.  

The city can be viewed as a living organism with a collective urban metabolism. The concept of urban metabolism has been used as an analytical tool to understand energetic and material exchanges ‘between cities and the rest of the world’. This approach allows the dynamics of cities (beyond ‘traditional’ mobility and the relationship between built/(un)cultivated environments) to be studied in relation to scarcity, carrying capacity and conservation of mass and energy. From this perspective, buildings, districts and entire regions as not only consumers but also potentially significant contributors to essential energy and resource streams.

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) How do we create innovative cities that have a better relationship with nature and provide a better quality of life for residents?
b) How do we promote a transition from resource-intensive and polluting cities towards alternatives that manage resources more carefully for the benefit of all citizens?
c) How do we integrate the urban metabolism into a wider understanding of which resources are being used where, by whom, and for what purpose if we want to connect the increase in resource efficiency to the overall goal of environmentally sustainable and socially just cities?
d) How do we promote an urban model that feature networks of “high density nodes” with a mix of housing, jobs and amenities at the neighbourhood level; ‘soft’ mobility such as walking and cycling; passive heating and cooling of buildings; and more intensive use of public spaces?
e) How do we design cities around people and not around automobiles?

“We are determined to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature.”
“We are determined to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies which are free from fear and violence. There can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development” (Source: UN, 2015. A/RES/70/1. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. p2/35) 

Safety, prosperity, and quality of life are universal values that bring peace to our lives. Healthy Cities are peaceful and inclusive place that eliminate violence by providing safe places for people to live, love, learn, work and play. Policy approaches range from rights-based approaches to a focus on the social determinants of health. Healthy Cities foster health and well-being through governance, empowerment and participation, creating urban places for equity and community prosperity. Some of the activities include human focus to societal development and by prioritizing investment in people to improve equity and inclusion through enhanced empowerment, improved community prosperity and access to common goods and services, promoting peace and security through inclusive societies and protect the planet from degradation including through sustainable consumption and production.  

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) How do we make our cities to be peaceful and inclusive places that eliminate fear and violence by providing safe places for people to live, love, learn, work and play?
b) How do we make our cities focus on (i) societal development, (ii) prioritising investment in people to improve equity and inclusion through enhanced empowerment, improved community prosperity and access to common goods and services, and (iii) promoting peace and security?

“We are determined to mobilize the means required to implement this (2030) Agenda (for sustainable development) through a revitalized Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity, focused on the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and with the participation of all countries, all stakeholders and all people.” (Source: UN, 2015. A/RES/70/1. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. p2/35) 

The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986) stated that the prerequisites for health are peace, shelter, education, food, income, a stable ecosystem, sustainable resources, social justice and equity and these make health everybody’s business. The keywords of WHO became intersectoral action and community participation. 

“Two main mechanisms were envisaged by which cities would build these mandatory intersectoral partnerships for health. The first was by establishing an intersectoral steering committee for the project and developing public policy and action involving several sectors. A second method was developing partnerships between the Healthy Cities project office and other relevant organizations, especially to support community participation. Problems and issues relating to how best to develop and organize partnership working were a frequent topic for discussion …”

 “Partnerships for health at the local level were important for three reasons. First, people from a range of sectors could genuinely share a common interest in the well-being of people in their town or city. Second, there were more opportunities for meeting and collaborative working compared with the national level. Third, the 19th century public health movement set a historical precedent for this kind of working. Living and working conditions in European towns and cities were transformed by introducing sanitary engineering, providing social welfare services and campaigning for the rights of children, workers and marginalized groups.” (Green, G., Price, C., Lipp, A., Priestley, R., 2009. Partnership structures in the WHO European Healthy Cities project. Health Promotion International, Vol. 24 No. S1.) 

In Healthy Cities, partnership is both a process and a product: it is hard work to build and maintain the partnership and to have it deliver its intended outcomes. Partnerships cannot solve all social ills. But if managed well, they offer promising opportunities for forging sustainable solutions for the planet. 

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) How do Healthy Cities improve their partnership processes with other sectors in government, and with academia, businesses, NGOs, and communities?
b) How do we make partnerships between Healthy Cities worthwhile?
c) What are the best practices among Healthy Cities that we can share?
d) What are the characteristics of successful partnerships in healthy cities?

Community participation and empowerment are the core principles to ensure success in healthy city (and by extension of the SDGs) implementation. How can communities participate and be empowered if they are not aware of the SDGs, what more to understand them? Yet a survey in 2013 showed that just 4% of people in the UK (6% in the European Union) had heard of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and had an idea of what they were. So how can we encourage people outside the sector to care about the MDGs’ post-2015 successor, the SDGs? (Source: EU development aid and the millennium development goals. Click here for source

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) Do we know how many percent of the citizens in our cities are aware of, and understand, the SDGs?
b) How do we make more citizens become aware of the SDGs and what the SDGs mean?
c) How do we customise our SDGs communication to languages and contextual messages which are familiar to an average citizen
d) How do we associate the SDGs with the average citizen’s daily challenges?

Health is a fundamental human right and a key indicator of sustainable development. Cities offer many opportunities for employment and access to better services that are necessary for good health and human development, but cities can also pose unique health risks. The spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, dengue, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), violence, and mental illness are often higher because of cities’ social, built and food environments. Fixing these symptoms of deteriorating urban health is beyond the scope of any one discipline. It requires interconnected thinking, collective intelligence and action to unlock potentials of cities for human health and wellbeing. 

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) How do we measure the health and wellbeing of our city inhabitants?
b) How can cities be designed and organised to ensure inclusiveness, healthy lives and promote citizens' wellbeing?

Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow. People are experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, which include changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and more extreme weather events.

Climate change is a global challenge that does not respect national borders. Emissions anywhere affect people everywhere. It is an issue that requires solutions that need to be coordinated at the international level and it requires international cooperation to help developing countries move toward a low-carbon economy.

Cities must take steps to reduce their contributions to climate change, and simultaneously they need to anticipate, adapt and become resilient to the current and expected future impacts of climate change.

As it is forecasted that almost 80% of the world population will be based in cities, mass casualty is expected when a disaster, natural or intentional, strikes a city. Resilience is the key when facing disasters. A resilient city is a city that is constantly looking for potential vulnerabilities within itself, improving civic resilience to disasters and nurturing the partnership among the community based and governmental based organizations. The preparation and recovery of a city from a disaster, thus coincides with the healthy city approach of putting health high on the social and political agenda of cities and building a strong movement for public health at the local level.  

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) How do we reduce our cities’ contributions towards climate change?
b) How do we make our cities become more resilient to disasters?
c) How prepared are our cities for disasters?

Moving society to become more connected, networked and data driven is the cornerstone in Healthy Cities. City mayors, policy makers and planners, in their effort to create Smart and Healthy Cities, tend to depend more on information infrastructure to keep their citizens more informed, engaged and empowered. The same digital infrastructure enables citizens to actively contribute to, and become part of the drive for sustainable development, as well as to self-manage their own health and well-being to live longer and healthier.

Smart Cities share common characteristics as they move from focusing their investment on traditional, physical infrastructure to more emphasis on digital infrastructure, including information and communication technology (ICT) to support the knowledge economy. This is the context within which the SDGs will be operating in the cities.

The SDGs came at an opportune time when advances in the information and communication technology (ICT) have significantly increased the speed and breadth of knowledge turnover within the economy and society worldwide. The relationship is bidirectional. On one end, the achievements on SDGs provide opportunities and facilitate development of ICT in a society, while on the other end, wise applications of ICT assist and facilitate achievement of various SDGs for the betterment of human’s health.

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) How do we make our cities become smarter?
b) How do we improve our digital infrastructure so that citizens can actively contribute to, and become part of the drive for sustainable development, as well as to self-manage their own health and well-being to live longer and healthier?

Sustainable Development Goal 2 aims to meet one of the fundamental needs of human beings—the ability to access nutritious and healthy food. Dealing with hunger is not just about increasing the production or provision of food, but a well-functioning environment which provide stable income for low income groups, equality in accessing the use of technology and infrastructure and food security, focusing on the poor, the needy and the vulnerable in our cities.  Healthy Cities, with its abundant resources and holistic approach of involving the government, local communities, non-profit partners, play a very important role to ensure that the health and well-being of the communities can be further improved by ending all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030, making sure all people – especially children – have access to sufficient and nutritious food all year round.

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) How do we identify those in need of food in the cities and the programmes or projects carried out to alleviate those needs?
b) How do we promote urban agriculture?

In recent decades, the world has experienced unprecedented urban growth. In 2015, close to 4 billion people — 54 per cent of the world’s population — lived in cities and that number is projected to increase to about 5 billion people by 2030. Rapid urbanization has brought enormous challenges, including growing numbers of slum dwellers, increased air pollution, inadequate basic services and infrastructure, and unplanned urban sprawl, which also make cities more vulnerable to disasters. Better urban planning and management are needed to make the world’s urban spaces more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Cities must address SDG 11 together with the New Urban Agenda (NUA) that was adopted at the Habitat III summit in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016 ( The NUA is the guiding document for the UN system’s urban engagements over the next 20 years. Official implementation commenced with the formal adoption of the New Urban Agenda by the UN General Assembly on 22 December 2016. Although, for political reasons, there is no formal link between the NUA and the SDGs, there is wide consensus that the SDGs, and especially, the urban goal and the urban elements of the other goals should constitute the de facto monitoring and evaluation framework for the New Urban Agenda.

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) Affordable housing in cities
b) Accessible and sustainable transport system with special attention to those with special needs,
c) Sustainable urbanization
d) Protection and safeguarding cultural and natural heritage,
e) Provision of inclusive green and public spaces,
f) Maintain good air quality and waste management and others.

Between now and 2030, the number of city dwellers is projected to rise from roughly 3.5 billion to 5 billion. Urbanization at this rate will significantly increase energy demand, as more energy will be required to support greater economic activity, expanded infrastructure, and the rising need for municipal services.

Energy is in the centre of almost every global opportunity and challenge the world faces today. It is becoming a basic need, just like water, food, clothing, health care and education. The older practice based on fossil fuels increase greenhouse effects which later result in climate change. In view of this, effort has been made to encourage clean energy. As of 2011, more than 20 percent of global power being generated by renewable source.

Cities are fundamental to achieving SDG 7; energy efficiency is part and parcel of SDG 11 – the goal to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The four dimensions of SDG 7 are affordability, reliability, sustainability and modernity.

For cities, energy efficiency is both a long-term necessity and an opportunity. Cities are uniquely placed to encourage and deploy energy efficiency measures, given their multifaceted nature as energy consumers, managers of energy networks, and potential energy producers. City administrators can be effective communicators vis-à-vis their citizens, since they are the closest level of government to the people.  

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) What can cities do to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all?

Peace, stability, human rights and effective governance based on the rule of law are important conduits for sustainable development. We are living in a world that is increasingly divided. Some regions enjoy sustained levels of peace, security and prosperity while others fall into seemingly endless cycles of conflict and violence. This is by no means inevitable and must be addressed. A non-violent, harmonious and peaceful city is the key to prosperity and improves quality of life of its population.

Multiple linkages exist between the urban communities and their health and wellbeing. These may include physical and mental, environment and economics, and social harmony that exist among the various sections of the community. These linkages may vary overtime among the various communities and play an important role in shaping these communities.

City government and urban planners should consider these dynamic linkages, in the governance and planning of modern cities in a way not only to maximize the potential of these urban centres but also to improve the quality of life of the population. Every year millions of dollars and lives of hundreds and thousands of people are affected due to urban violence of various forms in various parts of the world. These incidents happen due to the imbalance among the linkages mentioned above and directly affect the physical health and safety, peace and quality of the life of the population. The aim of the modern urban planner should be to prevent these conflicts before happening, and that require them to devise long term solutions right from the start of planning these communities.

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include the following area:

a) What can cities do to ensure peace, justice and strong institutions within their jurisdictions.


Friendship Park or “Taman Sahabat” is located at Jalan Song, within the Tabuan Township, a thriving community of 45,000 people, in Kuching City. The project site is made up of two standard parcel lots covering an approximate size of 7 acres; and sits centrally in terms of accessibility and proximity to residential homes, commercial businesses and schools.

The development of the Friendship Park is jointly funded by Kuching City South Council, Malaysian Federal Government, the government of the People’s Republic of China, and sponsors from private sectors in both Kuching and China. This project was initiated to commemorate the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties and friendship between Malaysia and the People’s Republic of China. Riding on this initiative, it is also an opportunity to establish a City Park that is culturally and aesthetically designed that appeal to the public and will encourage user-ship and increase in levels of physical activities of the community. Numerous outdoor activities and events have been held at the Friendship Park, such as Family Walk, Folk Dance Display, Martial Arts Display, Bicycle Ride, Aerobic Exercise, 24 Drum Performance and Tai Chi Display.

Friendship Park also incorporates several disability accesses in its design to provide the physically challenged or disabled persons with the proper assistance and opportunities to become active users of the parks. This includes toilets for the disabled, step-ramp for the disabled, and walking paths for the blind.

As a testament to its pleasing and well-developed design and amenities, the Friendship Park has received Malaysia Landscape Architecture Awards 2012 – Honour Award, Green City Category.

Abstracts submitted to this field visit stream may include any one of the following areas

a) Open spaces
b) Green spaces and green lungs
c) Healthy lifestyle
d) Friendship and unity
e) Twinning and sister cities

Stutong Community Market is sited in a populated housing estate at Setia Raja Road, Tabuan Laru, Kuching and is a centralized, double storey market place providing traders and hawkers with ample trading space that is spacious, clean and modern.

Due to the redevelopment of the area and the hygienic concern of the old market, all the stall owners from the former Gambier Street Wet Market were relocated to this new Stutong Community Market in June 2008. The market has since undergone amenities and facilities upgrade to facilitate business trading and for the comfort of the patrons.

Among them is the Green Centre which was established to reduce the discarded wastes from the market. The easily-rotten leftovers such as vegetables and fruits are collected and turned into organic compost through a recycling machine within 24 hours including fermentation. The organic compost are used as fertiliser for Council’s landscaping purpose and packed to be sold. Turning biodegradable waste into compost is generally an effective way to reduce the amount of waste dumped onto mother earth.

There are also rain water collection tanks to reduce water consumption for washing and cleaning and the sewerage treatment plant to treat liquid waste before discharging into the drain.

The ground floor of the market is divided into two parts to separate wet and dry produce. The market will undergo quarterly spring cleaning to ensure continuous cleanliness and hygiene. The cooperative and friendly nature of the hawkers and traders has made the market an even more ideal place to do business. The market currently has 567 stalls and the 18 liaison committee members chosen from the market are to ensure constant communication between the market and the Council. It is now a popular destination for locals to get their daily fresh provision in a hygienic and conducive environment.

Stutong Community Market illustrates how the Kuching City South Council and the hawkers can work together seamlessly not only to establish a lively market community and improving the business environment but also to enhance the close and mutual understanding between both parties.

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) Healthy markets
b) Market wastes and composting on-site
c) Food supply for urban areas
d) Role of traditional wet markets and modern supermarkets in cities

Initially known as Kling Street, India Street was one of the first established streets in Kuching during the reign of the White Rajahs. It is said to derive its initial name from the numerous Indian shops that were found to occupy it. Following this, in 1928, the Indian community requested for its change of name into India Street. 

India Street was turned into a Pedestrian Mall in 1992. Since then it has flourished and transformed from a suburban avenue to a vibrant and lively area, while still having the ability to preserve most of its history and familiar sights and sounds.

This transformation has significantly created an intimately homey ambience, greatly fostering a healthy and harmonious relationship between local traders and consumers, and even foreign tourists. Its affordable and great diversity of merchandise clearly enables it to become a 'treasure house' that attracts old-timers and new-age tourists of all ages. In addition, tourists can get a first-hand experience on how urban Kuchingites live their daily colourful, harmonious and culturally-enriched lives. 

Several hidden gems can be garnered in India Street. A relaxing walk along the street will unveil a vibrant collage of life that merges vestiges of the old colonial world with the new. Most of the shop houses still retain their historical charms despite the added splash of refinements such as wooden benches that are set up to enable pedestrians to sit and indulge in the atmosphere.  

India Street not only plays an important role as a prominent tourism spot but also as an integrated part of the district. Thus, in 2015, the community has requested that the State Government further develop the street by adding the rooftop so that trading can be carried out rain or shine. This is the first government project which is community-based in consultation with the local community, 90 per cent of who have agreed to have this project carried out. This project took two years to be completed and was officially launched in October 2017. The community later proposed to City Hall to take over the management of the Pedestrian Mall. 

India Street along with its community has also been working to solve prominent issues pertaining to the people's interest ensuing from the formation of the Kuching City Centre Consultative Committee. The district has successfully maintained its reputation of having the lowest crime rate in Kuching, in adherence to Kuching North City Council’s recently launched public service Slogan which is known as the 3Ps, progressing together with the Public Sector, Private Sector and the People. 

Finally, looking forward, the India Street Pedestrian Mall recent proposed Creation of District 93000 that targets a wide-range of job creation and decent, safe and affordable housing. It also aims to maximise the return from public investments like the Darul Hana Bridge, State Legislative Assembly Building, Astana Garden, Satok Museum and many more.

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) Urban revitalisation
b) Pedestrianisation
c) Community participation
d) Sustainable economic development

Known as the 'Living Museum', the Sarawak Cultural Village is set in a tranquil setting of natural tropical forests and a man-made lake. This cultural village is considered a must-visit for every visitor to Sarawak because it showcases the various attributes of 7 major ethnic populations in the whole state of Sarawak. Spread over a beautiful 17-acre site at the foothills of Mount Santubong, Sarawak Cultural Village gives you the perfect introduction to Sarawak, its people and cultures, whether you are looking for insight into longhouse lifestyles or a taste of exuberant Sarawak hospitality.

Sarawak Cultural Village is also the home venue for international events such as the Sarawak Harvest and Folklore Festival, Rainforest World Music Festival and Rainforest World Craft Bazaar held annually in the month of April and July respectively.

This award-winning living museum showcases Sarawak's multicultural dance performances in an air-conditioned theatre.

One can taste some local delicacies in the Budaya Restaurant and also purchase perfect mementos for loved ones in the Souvenir Shop.

It is possible to have a village-stay in the ethnic houses, organize a theme-dinner or a traditional wedding ceremony, where you will be dressed up in traditional ethnic costumes and be entertained with ethnic dances, music, activities, games and folk songs.

Enjoy our famed Sarawak hospitality, courteous, warm and friendly at Sarawak Cultural Village where you are treated like an honoured guest.

Abstracts submitted to this parallel session stream may include any one of the following areas:

a) Healthy city culture
b) Healthy city soul
c) Healthy city happiness and well being
d) Healthy city and tourism