Urban Systems

CUE - Centre for Urban Epidemiology

Every day, the structure, design, and functionality of a city have an effect on the health and well-being of its inhabitants. Much is already known about the connections between health and mobility, work, dwelling, economic conditions, lifestyles, age, and gender. What is still in need of an answer, however, is the question of how – considering the multitude of such factors – a city should be designed to provide its inhabitants with the best possible opportunities to stay healthy. So far, there has not been enough of a broad-based exchange of ideas between the health sciences and disciplines from urban and spatial planning, anthropogeography, computer sciences, economics, logistics and insiders, practitioners and policymakers. This is where the Centre for Urban Epidemiology makes its contribution from an epidemiological and public health perspective. 

One focus of CUE is on the analysis of the relationship between the urban environment and the health of its inhabitants. Using interdisciplinary approaches (including epidemiology, geography, social sciences, and urban planning), we develop a comprehensive picture and understanding of the complex interrelations in urban systems. It is based on clinical, social, and environmental information from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall cohort study and the subsequent Heinz Nixdorf Recall multigenerational study. This foundation of data is then combined with an analysis of the socio-demographic and spatial environment of the study participants.

We conduct similar analyses in several cities of the Ruhr metropolis within the framework of research training projects in the international master’s programmes “Urban Culture, Society, and Space” and “Sustainable Urban Technologies”.

Additionally, CUE investigates the direct and indirect public health consequences of the rehabilitation of the river Emscher. Labelled a multi-generation project, the renaturation of the Emscher includes technological, social, cultural, political, economic, infrastructural, and environmental aspects and provides a picture of the relationships between urban conditions and public health.