Promoting the Right to Live in a Healthy City
Most Canadian cities have areas that are “unhealthy,” where residents are deprived of basic amenities such as safe streets and access to good transit, grocery stores, parks, playgrounds, health clinics, and places to socialize. The people who live in these areas—often located in inner cities—are usually among the most marginalized citizens.
But why are some neighbourhoods healthy while others are not? Explaining the close connection between our living environments and social inequalities is at the core of Dr. Jeffrey Masuda’s research.
As Canada Research Chair in Environmental Health Equity, Masuda works closely with marginalized populations in inner cities, documenting their efforts to create healthier neighbourhoods for themselves and their families.
Masuda’s research offers an alternate view of Canada’s inner cities, viewing them as areas that also have positive aspects. His work has shown that people who face social prejudices—like racism, homophobia, and mental health stigmas—view their neighbourhoods as refuges from persecution and sources of mutual support, cultural safety, and acceptance.
Masuda believes it is possible to build healthier communities for all Canadians by distributing social, economic, and health resources more equitably. He hopes his research will help Canadians find ways to create healthy neighbourhoods that are built on our collective right to live healthy lives, not on the basis of our ability to pay.