If two hundred years ago one ran a higher risk of dying from an infectious disease, the main health risk in today’s clean, convenient and technology-savvy cities is related to lifestyle. Although healthcare costs are swelling, it is evident that treatment is much more expensive than prevention of disease and promotion of a healthy lifestyle. The cities that understand this are making continuous investments in order to reduce health risks. There is a range of possible strategies: from urban design that fosters active living to technological platforms that collect health data, inform citizens of the importance of disease prevention and health maintenance and anti-epidemic programmes. Management of public health risks is critical for sustainable social and economic development, and requires adjustment and reconfiguration of urban management.