Between research and teaching: identifying new competencies for Healthy Cities
Healthy Cities is one of the central themes addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals. The World Health Organization's new Urban Health Initiative creates a paradigm shift in health systems approaches by focusing on the urban environment as a prerequisite for healthy lifestyles-and disease prevention. In Europe, the Zagreb declaration pointed out its attention to strengthen and champion action on health through healthy cities networks. Architects and engineers play a strategic role in building this future and activating actions in key development sectors, like housing and transport, as well as in the settings where people live and work. This requires new professional figures with the hard and soft skills that stimulate urban transformation for healthier built environments. The paper discusses a methodological approach to identify the competencies to be acquired by future practitioners. It is developed within an ongoing Erasmus+ project 1 that represents the contextual field for testing the method in three Bosnian Universities. The article describes the methodology and its application. It starts with designing analysis' grids to evaluate how the topic is currently addressed, and it builds questionnaires to evaluate the students' awareness. Moreover, the research investigates stakeholders through organized seminars and surveys to understand the labor market and social needs. The paper suggests a strategy for setting up new courses for future architects, urban planners, and engineers, experts of the healthy urban environment. Testing the method in the Bosnian context, one of the main indications are the importance of innovative teaching methodologies integrated with the use of practical experience and laboratories. The method proposed is replicable for curriculum development in Higher Education, and it highlights how the research is a fundamental base for designing and teaching academic courses.