Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health


About Us

Through our close partnerships with local organisations, CUSSH will learn how policy decisions to achieve health and sustainability goals can be improved and accelerated. To do this, our process includes steps that we hope will provide evidence essential to achieving population-level changes in areas including energy provision, transport infrastructure, green infrastructure, water and sanitation, and housing.

Key actions:

  1. reviews of evidence on potential solutions

  2. development and application of methods for tracking

  3. the progress of cities towards sustainability and health goals

  4. development/application of models to assess the impact on population health, health inequalities, socio- economic development and environmental parameters of urban development strategies 

  5. engagements with stakeholders in partner cities, based on participatory methods, to test/deliver the implementation of the transformative changes needed to meet health and sustainability objectives

  6. public engagement and training, based on principles of co-generation of research

Read more about the project

Our transdisciplinary research will address the unprecedented constellation of changes affecting urban environments as complex systems and threatening future progress, including population growth and movement, climate change and natural disaster risks, declining natural resources, environmental pollution, emerging diseases and inequalities.

The transformative changes crucial to address these challenges go well beyond actions so far achieved by any city. For higher income settings they include: the complete de-carbonization of all main energy sources; the replacement of fossil fuels as the energy carrier for ground transportation combined with a quantum shift in travel behaviour; dramatic improvements in the energy efficiency of housing, commercial buildings and industrial processes; and adaptations to infrastructure and support systems to improve resilience to current and evolving environmental threats such as extreme heat, flood risks, and the spread of vector-borne disease.

Particularly in low- and middle-income settings, additional actions include improvement in access to basic services and infrastructure, and profound reduction of household and community environmental exposures, including those relating to air pollution, unsafe water and physical security. Combining context specific interventions that address the range of challenges offers unparalleled opportunities for population health and sustainability.

In this project we aim to develop system-wide understanding of how those opportunities can be realised through development and implementation of evidence-informed solutions in areas such as energy provision, transport infrastructure and operation, green infrastructure, health systems, housing and water and sanitation.