The effects of extreme heat events on mental health in vulnerable urban communities: towards evidence-based policy and practice


  • Dr Andrea Mechelli

    King's College London

Project summary

The effects of extreme heat events on mental health in vulnerable urban communities are under-investigated and unrecognised within current policies and practice. To address this, this project aims to:
- Improve evidence base for impacts of extreme hot weather on mental health in vulnerable urban communities using London as case-study;
- Evaluate the mitigation of these impacts by different categories of urban green spaces based on The London Plan;
- Elevate the voices of affected communities, bringing them into discussion with national, local and industry stakeholders; instigate the translation of the findings into policy and practice.

To achieve these goals, the project team will employ a variety of methods, including:
- Leading-edge spatio-temporal analytics linking high-resolution environmental data with geo-tagged datasets including electronic medical records and smartphone-based data spanning over 15 years (2008-2023).
- Integration of satellite data, OpenStreetMap, Google StreetView to estimate exposure to urban green spaces.
- Microsimulation modelling to generate projections of temperature-related mental health changes under various climate scenarios.
- Active participation of people with lived experience of mental illness, grassroots organisations, policy and practice experts and industry in all stages of the project.

Indicators of success for this project may include:
- Amendments to Greater London Authority/Borough planning policies to empower local authorities;
- Planners/developers using training and recommendations;
- Community groups accessing and using co-developed resources to engage with change.