The body of research evidence demonstrating that the physical (and specifically built) environment has a direct impact on health is growing.

Examples of specific links include: density of urban area and car use; walking, body weight and carbon emissions; quality green spaces, social interaction, levels of physical activity and health inequalities; land use, connectivity, population density, overall neighbourhood design and physical inactivity; active travel and stress.

To date most research output has focused on influencing what might be described as midstream or downstream activity, notably educating professionals in public and private practice, yet real world experience suggests that the systemic challenges reside further upstream and are largely influenced by those active in those arenas.

Working with the UK’s major delivery agencies – landowners, developers, asset managers, local government – using live large-scale urban development projects as case studies, and quantifying external costs from associated health impacts using economic valuation, the project explores the barriers and opportunities for integrating health outcomes, focusing in particular on upstream decision-making.



Project Aims and Objectives

Discover the aim of the UPSTREAM project, including how we plan to understand how current and future health impacts can be made a priority for strategic decision-makers in the planning and execution of urban developments.


Programme of Activity

A detailed breakdown of the schedule for the UPSTREAM project, including times and dates for presentations and conferences. The project started on February 1st 2016 and runs through until January 31st 2019.


Urban-Health Evidence

Further details on the key messages from a literature review on the impact of the built environment on health. A review which spans topics such as the natural environment, food, transport, buildings and neighbourhood design.


Economic Valuation

Our objective is to express in monetary terms the welfare costs associated with the health impacts of different planning and design features. This allows the measurements of the costs borne by society of these health impacts.


Case Study Interviews

A two-phase, qualitative, experimental and action research based exploration of barriers to, and opportunities for integrating health considerations into strategic decision-making through a purposive sample of case study partners.


Scientific Justification

The project is set within the context of the National Planning Policy Framework and National Planning Policy guidance (NPPF, 2012; NPPG, 2014) which promote the development of sustainable and healthy communities.


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