Imperial College London

Mr Richard N Belcher

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Research Postgraduate



r.belcher19 Website




Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





I am a researcher, currently completing a PhD on external factors (traffic, local area socioeconomic deprivation and nearby water) that may change the association between residential green space and self-rated or mental health, at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Environment and Health in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. My research is in collaboration with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and part of the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) Doctoral Training Partnership in the Grantham Institute, and is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

I have broad experience in quantifying natural environments near to where people live, including their extent, composition, structure and naturalness and how these factors impact the benefits they provide (such as improving mental health, cooling the air and increasing property selling price). I am a proficient user of the R programming language (~10 years). The majority of research work I conduct includes remote sensing, data preparation and spatial analysis with Google Earth Engine, ArcGIS and QGIS and R packages such as  data.table, velox, sf, terra, dplyr, tidyr and raster. I have designed a variety of studies from field experiments (rooftop thermal experiment) and observational field studies (biodiversity of green and grey environments), to citywide (hedonic pricing), national level (epidemiological analyses) and global (urban ecosystem services and green cover change) studies. I generally apply frequentist modelling approaches including longitiduinal modelling but have experience in machine learning for remote sensing classification (using R). I strive for my work to have impact beyond academia through outputs aimed at architects, policy-makers, planners and coverage in newspapers and on television.

I have been a reviewer for the journals Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Biodiversity and Conservation, Journal of Urban Ecology, Ecology and Evolution, Ecological Complexity, Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Environmental and Development Economics and Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.


  • Imperial College London - MRC Centre for Environment and HealthPhD Researcher Oct. 2019–Present
  • ETH Zurich - Future Cities Laboratory, SingaporeResearcherAug. 2016–April 2019
  • EnviroSolutions & Consulting (ESC), SingaporeEnvironmental ConsultantSept. 2014 – July 2016
  • National University of SingaporeMSc: Environmental ManagementSept. 2013 – Sept. 2014
  • Bangor UniversityBSc (hons): ForestryOct. 2009 – June 2012
  • Self Employed and Gavin Jones, United KingdomLandscape Maintenance and Gardener —Mar. 2005 – July 2014

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Richards DR, Belcher RN, Carrasco LR, et al., 2022, Global variation in contributions to human well-being from urban vegetation ecosystem services, One Earth, Vol:5, ISSN:2590-3330, Pages:522-533

Tan JKN, Belcher RN, Tan HTW, et al., 2021, The urban heat island mitigation potential of vegetation depends on local surface type and shade, Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, Vol:62, ISSN:1618-8667

Richards DR, Belcher RN, 2020, Global changes in urban vegetation cover, Remote Sensing, Vol:12, ISSN:2072-4292, Pages:23-23

Belcher R, Suen E, Menz S, et al., 2019, Shared landscapes increase condominium unit selling price in a high-density city, Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol:192, ISSN:0169-2046, Pages:103644-103644

Belcher R, Sadanandan KR, Goh ER, et al., 2019, Vegetation on and around large-scale buildings positively influences native tropical bird abundance and bird species richness, Urban Ecosystems, Vol:22, ISSN:1083-8155, Pages:213-225

Belcher R, Chisholm RA, 2018, Tropical Vegetation and Residential Property Value: A Hedonic Pricing Analysis in Singapore, Ecological Economics, Vol:149, ISSN:0921-8009, Pages:149-159

Belcher R, Fornasari L, Menz S, et al., 2018, Birds use of vegetated and non-vegetated high-density buildings—a case study of Milan, Journal of Urban Ecology, Vol:4


Schroepfer T, Menz S, Yingying J, et al., 2019, Dense and Green Building Typologies: Architecture as Urban Ecosystem, Future Cities Laboratory Indicia 02, Lars Muller Publishers, ISBN:9783037785997


Tan JKN, Belcher R, Menz S, et al., Comparing the surface temperatures of greenery and artificial materials: A field study of green infrastructures in Singapore, IFLA World Congress 2018

More Publications