We focus on four complex health issues more prevalent in urban areas
With the Social Progress Imperative, we've developed the first neighbourhood level, health-focused social progress index of its kind.
With Wellcome Trust
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Explore what we’re learning about improving health in cities.
Health effects of air pollution
People with lung or heart conditions experience worsened symptoms from spikes in air pollution, with high levels of NO2 associated with increases in hospital admissions for asthma. In our inner-city area, those with health conditions are more likely to say that air quality has got worse.
Air pollution can affect children’s organ development from pregnancy through to early adolescence, with children living near busy roads four times more likely than adults to have reduced lung function. Yet, our local parents are more likely than other groups to think the dangers of air pollution have been exaggerated.
John is 72 and lives in Southwark. He loves the hustle and bustle of the area, but is not very mobile and doesn’t get out as much as he’d like to.
Marilyn is a retired art teacher who lives in Brixton with her husband and three grown-up children. As a teenager she was treated for TB and, following the recent death of her brother, has become even more concerned about her health.
Piarve is the parent of Janila, 8, and has lived in Southwark all her life. Piarve works in events for an interior design company, as well as running sewing classes and other community fashion initiatives.
Sarah is an outdoor worker for an environmental education charity in Lambeth. She doesn’t own a car and tries to cycle most places, with public transport her back-up option.
Ying lives with her husband and child in Bermondsey. Being environmentally aware and a mother, she would like to know more about air pollution and how it affects our health.
Alika and Alex, 3, live in Southwark. Alika, who moved to London from Nigeria in 2000, is doing an electrical apprenticeship by day and is a youth worker by night.
Air pollution is linked with heart failure, strokes, poor cognition and even lung cancer in older people over 65, with high levels of particulate matter increasing their risk of hospitalisation. Our research shows that older people are less likely to point to poor air quality as an important issue to address.
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