Gaining insight into the interactions between the global built environment and the effect on children’s health and wellbeing, facilitating a healthier and more equitable future.

Over 50% of the world’s population live in cities, and it’s estimated that 82.9% of England’s population live in urban areas (, 2021). The physical characteristics of urban environments affect so many children and young people. Mobility, travel behaviour, and the home and school environment all have an influence on health and developmental wellbeing.

Our focus is to closely characterise how children interact with urban spaces. We use leading edge technological and modelling approaches with information from cohort studies and administrative databases to gain as much detail as possible. This comprehensive, individualised approach means that we can link exposures and behaviours to health outcomes with greater certainty. This generates stronger evidence and more targeted interventions which can inform health guidance and urban planning.

  • WellHome – the West London Healthy Home and Environment Study, identifying dominant air pollution exposures across the indoor-outdoor air pollution continuum within vulnerable and diverse urban communities, and identifying behavioural changes that can reduce this exposure and improve health outcomes.
  • CAPPA: Children's Air Pollution Profiles in Africa
  • PRECISE-DYAD: Health Trajectories for mums and their children
  • SAMHE: Schools’ air quality monitoring for health and education.
  • Pathways to Equitable Healthy Cities – includes work to characterise exposures at school level in London, including open space and green space, air pollution, and potentially noise
  • CLUE (Cognitive deveLopment in the Urban Environment)
  • MOBILE Air: Mother and Baby Interventions to Lower Exposure to Air Pollution
  • Evaluating evidence of the impact of ambient air pollution exposure during pregnancy on the risk of adverse birth outcomes – Rachel Smith, Heather Walton, Shawn Lee
  • The Breast Milk, Environment, and Early-life Development (BEED) study has been established to address the public health concern over the relationship of modelled area level ambient dioxin exposure and individual level breast milk dioxin exposure. Dioxins are pollutants produced during combustion and incineration processes. The BEED study has recruited women living near three municipal waste incinerators across England to gain detailed exposure profiles, with the participants providing breast milk samples and lifestyle and dietary information - Mireille Toledano, Ruthie Parsons

Theme lead

  • Dr Benjamin Barratt

    Personal details

    Dr Benjamin Barratt Reader in Environmental Exposures & Public Health


    From a foundation in environmental measurement, Ben’s research focuses on interactions between the health of individuals and their personal environment. The overarching aim of his team’s work is to better characterise individual and population-level exposure to environmental stress, how this relates to the health of susceptible population subgroups, and methods of public health improvement. This is linked to the development of tools to allow the public to make informed choices to reduce their own exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution.

    His research is often in collaboration with international multidisciplinary teams ranging from toxicology and population health through to behavioural science and policy development. Ongoing and recent projects relating to maternal and child health include cohort and panel studies in the UK and across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Theme members

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