Cities and health.

SPH has long placed research into urban life and health at the fore of its agenda, with reason: by 2050, 66 percent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities. Our experts study employment opportunities, housing structures, food access, discrimination and segregation, climate change, and many other complex realities of urban life that come to bear on health.

Their efforts include:

  • A study on exposures to chemical and non-chemical environmental stressors among people in Chelsea, Mass., and neighboring Boston, as well as studies to address systemic, social, and structural environmental health stressors in the home environment
  • Several research projects related to the health risks of living near an airport, including one assessing the connections between aircraft noise exposure and cardiovascular outcomes, and another focused on air pollution, to determine the influence of flight activity on health outcomes
  • Studies of disease transmission in urban environments, including the collection of wild rodents in Boston and the testing of them for carriage of drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and influenza

Many SPH researchers doing research in urban settings also build long- and short-term research relationships between community groups and scientists, in cities around the world. These relationships are as valuable as the research itself, as they build trust and help ensure that knowledge and information will come to bear on policy and practice.

Donors can help support invaluable community outreach and the science that results from them, and ultimately make cities safer and healthier for all who live in them.

Additional news on cities and health

For help exploring which options best fit your interests, please reach out to Jacoba van Heugten, Assistant Dean of Development, at 617-358-3321 or at