Today, over 55% of the world’s population live in urban areas, with growth expected to accelerate in low-income and lower-middle-income countries over the next three decades. In order that this urbanisation is inclusive, safe and sustainable, it must be carefully managed to ensure that city spaces are ready to cater for the health of their expanding communities, and that of future citizens.
Many environmental factors affect our health. However, despite our environments being rich in data, little is known about the relative impact of these factors on the development and progression of illness. To bridge this gap, our researchers are using existing and pioneering methods to find patterns in large-scale data and gather information about urban settings.
By harnessing the concept of cities as data networks in which feedback can be crowdsourced through, for example, monitoring wearable sensors, our research can support the evidence-based design and implementation of healthier and more equitable urban spaces.
This commitment to sharing knowledge to strengthen policy and planning is reflected in our work on the UK Research Council-funded PEAK Urban programme, which studies interconnections between informal provisions in employment, housing, transport and healthcare in cities.
Our work is also supported by the GCRF-funded Oxford Martin School Programme on Informal Cities, which prioritises both scalable and specific solutions to the delivery of the United Nations’ 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals in informal city systems.