Urban-Rural Synergy Toward Human Well-Being

Urban-Rural Synergy Toward Human Well-Being

Nikola Zoran Furundžić (Furundzic ordinacija, Serbia), Dijana Petar Furundžić (Furundzic ordinacija, Serbia) and Aleksandra Krstić-Furundžić (Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade, Serbia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9932-6.ch003
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The cities are characterized by the rapid development of technologies and the inevitable expansion, which requires looking at ways to address new challenges and overcome the problems that have arisen. Living conditions may vary in many ways, depending on where people live, but the advantages and disadvantages in terms of comfort of human life can be recognized in both urban and rural environments, as analysis of case studies shows. Factors that occur in both areas and affect human life, comfort, and health are presented. The positive effects of rural areas and the advantages that cities have in terms of preserving human health are discussed in this chapter. By comparing the good characteristics of the urban and rural environment, the goal is to indicate some postulates that can be applied in preventive medicine.
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Health is of the same importance for people wherever they live and whatever they do, regardless of origin and nationality, as well as the age group they belong to. From time immemorial human beings are living in communities which are nowadays generally defined as specific two types: urban and rural. Regarding the population of these areas, relevant facts have been provided by the UN (2013), indicating that more than half of the world's population now lives in urban areas, compared with 29% in 1950 and 15% in 1900, as well as predicting that in 2050, seven out of every ten people will live in towns or cities - more than 6.25 billion people, while in the period from 2000 to 2050, developing regions could add 3.2 billion new urban residents, which is the figure larger than the entire world’s population in 1950.

When it comes to quality of life, in the life of the city and the village there are many advantages and disadvantages. Regardless of the differences, in rural and urban areas in the human population appear similar health disorders. It would be interesting to determine which factors that occurs in the village and in the city disrupt human life, comfort and health. Given that there are many facilities for people in the city, city dwellers have more opportunities to progress in their lives. Cities provide great facilities for education, medical treatments, job opportunities, etc. However, many disadvantages are present (Figure 1), mainly the air of poor quality polluted from traffic and factories, often poor water quality, the environment is polluted with dust, smoke, garbage and greenhouse gases, the streets are mostly dusty and unclean, intense traffic and therefore noise. It appears that it is difficult to lead a healthy life in cities. The lifestyle in villages has other specifics in comparison to lifestyle in the city. People know each other very well and are more closely connected to each other than people in the city. As village has not lot of vehicles the pollution is less so the air is clean, less noise and rush is present. The environment of the village is pleasant and silent and it has scenic beauty (Figure 2). But, the village also has bad points. Often lifestyle is not as advanced as in the cities. Many people have difficulties to keep up with new developments in their field or profession. Since the functioning of the village is closely linked with the city, traveling problems village people often have to face. But certainly, the rural environment can be considered healthy.

Figure 1.

Air pollution, intense traffic, noise and building density are disadvantages of urban areas (Author: A. Krstić-Furundžić)

Figure 2.

Scenic beauty of rural areas (Author: A. Krstić-Furundžić)


Mutual understanding, connections and collaboration between communities, disregarding how large they are, is crucial for the development in all fields and overcoming the problems and challenges that arise. In this respect advantages and disadvantages of both areas for human health are discussed in the paper. Cooperation in sharing of information and experience can overcome differences and lead to better life for all. The synergy of urban and rural areas can provide new knowledge and skills that combine the advantages that these areas possess. The paper points to the positive effects that provide the rural environment and the presence of the advantages that city have in terms of preserving people's health, thus drawing the essence of these advantages. The aim of the paper is perception of new knowledge and perspectives that arise for preventive medicine from the synergy of urban and rural areas. It should be noted that some knowledge and perspectives have universal character, while some related to specific regions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Natural Environment: The natural environment includes all living and non-living beings that are naturally occurring, which is not man-made.

Prevention: Prevention is a set of measures and actions that are used in order to stop or reduce the incidence of a disease, disorder or behavior that causes negative effects on the health of a person or group of people.

Urban Gardening: Also known as urban horticulture or urban agriculture is the process of growing plants of all types and varieties in an urban environment.

Biophilic: The human tendency to affiliate with nature, to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature. Biophilic design incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, natural views and involving experience of the natural world in the creation of the modern built environment.

Urbanization: The process by which towns and cities are formed, and which, by natural or mechanical increase in the population, become larger because more and more people live and work in the central areas.

Built Environment: An environment created by a human being, which ensures the realization of human activities, consisting of buildings, parks, and infrastructure.

Human Well-Being: Well-being is understood as a state of health, happiness and/or prosperity, and can be evaluated by objective and subjective factors that constitute the health and quality of life.

Preventive Medicine: The aim of preventive medicine is to improve health and prevent disease. It consists of a set of medical techniques and treatments and their combinations intended to prevent disease before it happens, rather than curing it.

Health Promotion: Activities that enable people to increase control over their own health, to become aware of activities that damage their health.

Urban-Rural Synergy: A number of different connections and interactions between rural and urban areas, a common thread that connects the enormous diversity of connections and interactions between the given places.

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