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Causal inference in urban interventions’ social and health effects

We take new metros as the interventions, using natural experiment studies to infer causal effects on active travel, wider health behaviours, and economic outcomes.

We are particularly interested in urban redevelopment in high density cities, and use the changes in housing and neighbourhoods as complex interventions to investigate the longitudinal effects on mental health and wellbeing of older people.

We are investigating the street experiments that bridge the mobility and public space functions, to look at how the short-term actions lead to long-term changes. Our engagements include both design studio and randomised control experiments.

It is interdisciplinary research on urban analytics, empirical social science, and urban studies and planning.

SOCIAL SCIENCE researchers often ask questions about cause and effect. In the context of our research, we are talking about “causes” that are built environment interventions via urban planning and design practices, such as street experiments, a new transport infrastructure, urban regeneration programme, and “effects” in individual and public health and social and economic outcomes. Note the growing body of research on social and health effects of built environment is mostly observational studies constrained in their ability to make causal inferences. We use carefully constructed natural experiments that allow credible causal inference of urban interventions.