Health and connected communities
Uniquely introducing health and public policy to discussions of sustainability, this programme developed international excellence in cross-disciplinary research into the relationship between health, wellbeing and places throughout life, in order to promote thriving, resilient and adaptable communities.
Its objectives were:
- to predict the health impact of a low-carbon society
- to better understand and measure the complex interplay of social, economic, physical and biological factors in rapidly changing environments
- to integrate this knowledge across disciplines
- to address the whole life course, including inter-generational effects and the adaptive lifestyle changes needed to cope with rapidly changing environments and depleting resources
- to exploit new technology for record-linking between large datasets and 'natural experiments' to regenerate communities
- to create an evidence-policy 'laboratory' where ideas for new policies can be tested in simulated communities
Themes which served to better our understanding of the relationship between social, economic, physical and biological factors include:
- How streets, housing, green spaces and other areas interact with flows of people, material, energy and more
- How building regulations, house design and energy efficiency affect temperature-related morbidity and respiratory illness
- The role of neighbourhood organisation, settlement, size and morphology on active travel, energy expenditure, obesity and injuries
- The influence of neighbourhood design and quality, green spaces and traffic flows on fear, social cohesion and mental health
In line with national policies, the focus was on mental health, respiratory illness, vulnerable children, and the link between housing quality and health, and health and ageing.