Urban Analytics

Driving urban transitions to a healthier, fairer, and sustainable future for everyone

Cities around the world are expected to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as WHO’s and UN-Habitat’s public health equity goals. Planners, designers, and policy-makers are faced with the challenge of creating livable, sustainable, and attractive urban spaces that promote the well-being of all. This requires radical changes in every possible sector—from mobility and energy to food and land use. But how can we help cities frame the priorities and track progress toward these goals in a consistent manner? What kinds of globally applicable indicators can facilitate the transition to healthier, fairer, and more sustainable cities and societies?

At the Urban Analytics Lab, we develop human-centred metrics and indicators for benchmarking cities toward achieving sustainability, health, and equity goals. Spatial accessibility is at the heart of our work as a useful conceptual framework for the design of integrated and equitable distribution of opportunities and urban mobility. We focus on active mobility (walking, biking) and look at how different population groups (children, seniors, women) perceive and experience the urban environment and how this affects their accessibility, mobility, and health outcomes.

Our work is organized around three pillars: (1) we co-create novel metrics and indicators of urban environment qualities such as accessibility, walkability, playability, co-accessibility, and perceived attributes of the physical environment; (2) we integrate these metrics into open-source tools to support the delivery of interventions at every level; and (3) we provide evidence-based measurable standards for various health, equity, and sustainability indicators. To achieve this, we combine open-source location data with cutting-edge spatial analysis techniques.

Through our research and education, we hope to develop the necessary skills and tools to accelerate the much-needed urban transformations toward a healthy, sustainable, and equitable future for our cities.

Our research in a nutshell

Software Tools