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York City Environment Observatory: Understanding How the Total Environment Affects the Health, Wellbeing and Equity of City Populations

The aim of the York City Environment Observatory (YCEO) project is to establish York as an exemplar city for better understanding the links between the quality of the natural, cultural, social and built environments (the ‘total environment’) and the health and wellbeing of citizens and the economy of the city. The YCEO aims to employ cutting-edge monitoring and data analytic technologies to provide intelligence to allow informed decisions to be made on the design and management of the city and surrounding environments.

The project will involve:

  • applying novel tools and systems to better understand the impact of the natural, cultural, social and built environments on the health and well-being of citizens,
  • the expansion of the York Open Data platform to host the city’s environmental data, provided by the project’s partners,
  • building and designing a system to generate real-time data to improve our understanding of the environment of York and other cities,
  • designing models to forecast future environmental pressures.

Professor Alistair Boxall, project co-lead, said: “The RCUK and Innovate UK funding will allow us to lay the groundwork to establish York as a unique and world leading city observatory which will enable us to better understand the importance of environmental quality for the health and wellbeing of people and the economy of cities. This understanding will help us to design and manage cities much more cleverly than we are able to do at the moment.”

“York is an ideal city for establishing a whole city observatory of this type. It is not too big, meaning that the observatory is manageable. It is a highly data-rich city that can be modelled in four dimensions. It is also home of a number of exciting relevant initiatives such as the YorkSense monitoring project, the York Open Data platform and the Digital Creativity Laboratories.”

Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for the Environment at City of York Council, said: “We’re delighted to be chosen as one of a handful of cities that will benefit from the Urban Living Partnership. It also supports the city’s One Planet York campaign, to be a more sustainable and resilient city where we all work together to create healthy and sustainable lives. The YCEO will make a major contribution to this ambition by better understanding the impact natural, social, cultural and built environments have on peoples’ health and wellbeing.”

  • For more information about the University of York’s Environment Department, please visit their website.
  • For further information about City of York Council, please visit council’s website.
  • For more information about the Research Council UK, please visit their website.

Collaborating organisations:

Additional partners:

Published by: City of York Council

Date: 31st October 2016