York City Environment Observatory (YCEO)

Harness a powerful new environmental data resource designed to help decision-makers improve the health and well-being of the community


By 2050, 66% of the world’s population will live in cities, and it has long been recognised that the totality of this urban environment – made up of a complex combination of natural, built, cultural and social factors – has a powerful impact on the health and well-being of individual citizens as well as the economic prosperity of cities themselves.

Read our brochure for more information YCEO Brochure (PDF  , 833kb)

Sometimes that impact can be positive, other times negative, so it is vital that we find ways to better understand the links between cause and effect. That way we can make the right decisions on how to use, interact with, design and manage this total environment to derive the greatest possible benefits and avoid any unwanted consequences.

Making the right decisions means asking the right questions and basing our responses on the strongest possible evidence. In the era of big data, our ability to gather, access and analyse such evidence is greater than ever before. And that represents an opportunity!

Proving ground 

It was to realise the transformative potential of evidence-based decision-making that the York City Environment Observatory (YCEO) was established in June 2016. Funded as part of the Urban Living Partnership by the UK Research Councils and Innovate UK – and with the city of York as our proving ground – our aim is to determine what kind of questions need answering, what data we need in order to answer them, whether that data exists or needs gathering, how to build an appropriately robust analytical framework, and how to allow decision-makers – from members of the public through to national policy-makers – to mine the data to find the evidence they need.

To find out more about the project please have a look at our brochure.

Contact Us

Professor Alistair Boxall
Department of Environment and Geography
Environment Department
University of York
YO10 5NG

Take the next step with us!

We’re excited about taking YCEO to the next level – both in York and further afield – and we are seeking new partnerships, support and investment to help us make it a reality. 

By working with the team you will receive:

  • Broad proven expertise and insight
  • A flexible, scalable data solution
  • Readily adaptable framework to meet your location

Whatever your location and whatever your specific requirements or strategic plans, we are ready to help you or your stakeholders base future health and well-being decisions on the very best environmental data. To find out more and to help shape the future of YCEO, please contact alistair.boxall@york.ac.uk.

Partners and collaborators

Consortium members

  • Environment Agency
  • Forest Research UK
  • IBM UK
  • Invisible Visible
  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Make It
  • York Natural England
  • PerkinElmer
  • Public Health England
  • The Rivers Trust
  • Science City York
  • Siemens
  • Tang Hall Big Local
  • Woodland Trust
  • York Business Improvement District
  • York Minster


  • UK Research Councils and Innovate UK (York City Environment Observatory: Diagnostic Phase; EP/P001947/1)

Project team

  • University of York
  • City of York Council
  • Arup
  • British Geological Survey
  • Centre for Sustainable Healthcare
  • SimOmics
  • Stockholm Environment Institute at York
  • YorkMetrics

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