Health in Urban Environment Seminar Series so far…

News | Posted on Friday 12 April 2019

In January, YESI together with SEI, WACL, IGDC and the Research Champions at the University of York launched the Health in Urban Environments Event Series to explore urban living-related research at York. We reflect on the events so far.

The series began with a workshop for York academics and heritage conservation groups to explore interdisciplinary research on the history of pollution in York. Conversations flowed from measuring air pollution using whale ear wax to analysing medieval skeletons for signs of historic pollution.

Moving to a more global perspective, we were treated to a lunchtime seminar by Amanda Ngabirano, Urban Planner and Lecturer from Makere University, Kampala, Uganda. Amanda discussed her sterling efforts to encourage cycling in Kampala which has earned her the name Madam Bicycle!

From campaigning, we moved to methods of measuring pollution. Dr Adam Vaughan from the Department of Chemistry discussed his work on measuring NOx emissions using aircraft, tall buildings and experimental tower sides to validate emission estimates. Dr Harry Vallack introduced the LEAP-IBC tool, developed by the Stockholm Environment Institute York (SEI-Y), to help governments jointly assess greenhouse gasses and air pollutants, build mitigation scenarios and understand how emissions reductions benefit climate, health and crops.

In April, Dr Gareth Millington discussed religious urbanisation in Africa explaining the economic and social impacts of faith based organisations in urban development. He was followed by Dr Steve Cinderby (SEI-Y) who explored implementing creative methods to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Through the AIR Network and I-CMIIST projects, he has raised awareness and encouraged locals to participate in urban planning to tackle air pollution. Earlier in the Event Series we were able to see some of the methods from the AIR Network in action during an exhibition in Spring Lane Building.

YESI Director and Environmental Sustainability and Resilience Theme Champion, Prof. Sue Hartley says ‘This timely series has been a great way to showcase interdisciplinary research at the University of York on what is increasingly recognised as a topic vital for human health globally.’

There are two more events in the series so sign up here. These include a workshop with the Research Champions on ‘Human health and the total environment’ and, in preparation for the UK’s largest air pollution campaign ‘Clean Air Day,’ WACL will provide public, staff and students with tips on how to help improve the air we breathe at ‘Clean Air Day- air pollution and York.’