HiOA has a new name: OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University. Find out what this means for you.


Report on "social sustainability" and public health

The past decade institutionalization field of public health through clearer definition of public health policy making and development of new governance tools through the public health law makes a study of the relationship between public health and sustainability even more relevant than before.

Meanwhile, social sustainability on the three sustainability dimensions that have received least attention after the concept of sustainable development was launched in the Brundtland Report in 1987. The report will firstly take the form of a literature study where we study the relevant definitions and understandings of social sustainability and see these in light of prevailing, Norwegian public health policy. This study will focus on the following questions:

  • What is social sustainability, and how are "social sustainability" is defined and understood - in Norway and in other comparable countries? Here we will examine whether there is a common understanding of social sustainability, or whether there are different understandings of social sustainability. Emphasis will be placed on understandings that are particularly relevant from a public health perspective.
  • Is there a link between public health and "social sustainability", ev. how? Here we will put special emphasis on social inequalities and the extent to which insights from research on social sustainability can help reinforce this perspective in health promotion.
  • How can for instance common intentions located in "social sustainability" and public health contribute to support and reinforce each other in pursuit of a more health-promoting and leveling of society, cf. Public Health Act? Here we will have a particular focus on the consideration of local environ- / local environment sustainability, which is a key priority in the current public health policy and which also has a clear link to local community development and planning.

Based on the literature study and the ongoing assessment of the link between public health and densification which NIBR is responsible, will study also include an analysis of new, qualitative data in order to illustrate how public health and social inequalities can be addressed in the development and planning.

The study will build on key interviews with municipal actors with experience in translating ambition to reduce social inequalities to local practices, as well as analysis of key documents in these. Here are several municipalities in question; including Stavanger, Drammen, Fredrikstad and Innherrad. We specify gladly this part of the study further in cooperation with the Directorate of Health.

Combined with the literature study is the objective here to provide advice and recommendations on specific measures in municipalities Region Men and others, can / should emphasize dialogue with municipalities about planning (and possibly. As the basis for objections) on public health in spatial planning, including community planning.

The study's final question is therefore:

  • What specific measures can municipalities do for improving public health and reducing social inequalities in health? What advice and recommendations should Directorate of Health give to the County and other concrete measures that should be emphasized in the dialogue / objections relating to municipal planning?

Here the goal is to come up with good examples of how public health / social sustainability / leveling of social inequalities can be lifted and succeed in the community development and in space (/ social) planning and identify which affects municipalities need to be better equipped to this. Such limits may be guidelines, the development of statistics, map basis, financial support, examples, etc.

The project is funded by the Norwegian Directorate of Health, and conducted in the first half of 2017.

Norwegian version


Project period

Start: 08/11/2016

End: 31/05/2017


    • The Norwegian Directorate of Health


  • 400 000 NOK

Project number