Rapidly-growing cities represent unique challenges and opportunities. Unplanned growth often outpaces infrastructure development and occurs at the expense of a city’s ecological foundations, undermining residents’ wellbeing and the city’s sustainability.

The SEI Initiative on City Health and Wellbeing will use novel approaches to investigate how evolving cities are affecting the wellbeing of residents and how this interacts with the overall health of city systems: What makes a city healthy for its residents? Could citizens be actively engaged in monitoring the health of their city? These are some of the central questions informing our initiative case study activities in Asia and Africa.

Novel methods of data generation and collection will be employed across four interconnected activities in two case study location (Nakuru in Kenya and Udon Thani in Thailand). These activities are:

  1. Understanding the impact of urban forms’ impact on health and wellbeing
  2. Co-designing urban citizen science monitoring
  3. Urban metabolism and participatory modelling
  4. Governance for greater urban equity and inclusion

The research will contribute to a rethink of urban development practices. The knowledge generated through this action research and boundary partner engagement will inform sustainable and participatory planning for urban environments.

The new evidence we generate will be aimed at guiding policy recommendations to equitably maximise the wellbeing of urban populations whilst minimising resource consumption and without undermining their resilience.