Most people in the UK live in towns and cities and will continue to do so. They need places close to home, in those same towns and cities, where their physical and mental health problems can be addressed. But there is a huge and growing concern about the costs of treating ill health, partially a result of mounting pressures on the public purse, an ageing population and widening health inequalities. If treating ill health is overstretching the public purse, then perhaps there is a way of reducing demand on health services. Indeed, there is a growing body of evidence that supports investing in preventing illness and enhancing wellbeing, as a way of reducing the cost of health care. Some of this investment needs to be in supporting changes in people’s behaviour – eating healthier food, smoking fewer cigarettes, exercising more. But greater consideration needs to be given to ensuring that our towns and cities support and encourage healthy lifestyles.