Different approaches to research on urban health: a meta-narrative review
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University of New South Wales, Australia
University of Notre Dame, Australia
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A181
Background and Objectives:
Urban health is a multi-disciplinary field of research and practice, and participants address urban health based on different ontological beliefs. Identifying and articulating the different approaches is integral for transdisciplinary research and practice. This meta-narrative review identifies which epistemic traditions have considered the broad topic of urban health. This review further aims to identify the cross-cutting themes that appear across the epistemic traditions.

In this meta-narrative review, we use bibliometric analysis as a guide to identify the different approaches that appear in the scientific literature on urban health. A search in Web of Science Core Collection retrieved 5,926 publications. Bibliometric network analyses of co-citation relationships produced clusters of closely related authors and publications. The highest co-cited publications in each cluster were selected and analysed against conceptual, theoretical, methodological and instrumental parameters.

The document co-citation network analysis showed clustering of urban health research activities into five clusters: sustainable urban development, urban ecology, urban resilience, public health and urban planning, and urban green spaces and health. Each cluster has a different approach to the urban health concept. Meanwhile, several cross-cutting themes were found in the methodological and instrumental across all five clusters.

Urban health research topics extend beyond the traditional public health and the urban planning centred view. The cross-cutting themes that emerge across all topic areas underpin the paradigmatic differences that require even further efforts for collaboration than the disciplinary differences that require even further efforts for collaboration than the disciplinary differences. For urban health researchers to actively collaborate across diverse disciplines and research traditions, understanding which approaches exist and how these approaches are different and similar is critical. Such endeavours are required to produce the transdisciplinary knowledge for transforming policy.

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