Public Health Framework for Smart Cities within the Comprehensive Approach to Sustainability in Europe: Case Study of Diabetes

Luís Velez Lapão, Jorge César Correia, Marija Jevtic

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European cities should address the climate change challenges, improving quality of life and reducing costs. They need potential smart and digital approaches. Public health (PH) has recognized climate change as a major challenge. The development of urban policies should be guided by evidence-based PH practices. The environmental health determinants and the climate crisis now represent a clear PH threat. The core of the Smart City is sustainability, and its basic condition is active PH. The inclusion of public health into the pillars of the Smart City concept to contribute toward mitigating PH crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, is a framework for action. Design Science Research Methodology (DSRM) is used to elicit a Smart Public Health City (SPHEC) framework. A set of PH and smart city experts participated in the DSRM process, using diabetes as a case study. The European Green Deal served as a blueprint for this transformational change toward a healthier and more sustainable city. The SPHEC framework was defined by elucidating clearly the several dimensions of the PH functions within a digital city, via the identification of a set of digital PH services that are required to support the SPHEC framework. This allows for an assessment of the actual benefits that are obtained with the digital health services, and provides evidence for guiding decision-making. The role of digital PH services emerges from the analysis of the SPHEC framework, through the development of proper digital health services within the smart city, strengthening capacity and resilience in future climate emergencies, and motivating policy makers to take this challenge more seriously.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4269
Number of pages15
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2023


  • digital public health
  • environmental health
  • European Green Deal
  • public health
  • smart city
  • sustainability
  • urban health


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