Personal perspectives on urban health and wellbeing

Personal perspectives on urban health and wellbeing - Insights on the assets and risks of urban environment, diversity and deprivation

A new exploration of the lived experience of health in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark

Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity commissioned Uscreates to produce fresh research – Personal perspectives on urban health and wellbeing – into the impact of living in an urban, diverse and deprived area on people’s health. Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity wanted to understand how the characteristics of Lambeth and Southwark – densely populated, diverse and transient; with pockets of deprivation and affluence living side by side impacted on people’s health. This insight will not only help them design their own funding programmes, but be relevant to other similar areas in the UK and around the world. There is much research about the impact on one of two of the urban, diverse and deprived characteristics on people’s health, but rarely all three.

Lambeth and Southwark are vibrant places to live and to work. Their populations are amongst the most diverse in the world. They situate, side by side, some of the UK’s wealthiest and poorest neighbourhoods. Their population density is twice the average in the capital. The boroughs are, in many respects, extreme examples of developed innercities. And it is in this light that Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity's work to address the complex health challenges of Lambeth and Southwark can have relevance in other cities around the world. The insights from this work build on much of what is already known: we need to pay attention to the wider determinants of health; diversity affects the way in which services are accessed; and there is often a reliance on informal networks to support health. What was perhaps most surprising was the relative lack of work looking at the cumulative effect of urban living, deprivation and high levels of diversity on people’s health. It is hoped, therefore, that this short piece of research can be the start of an open conversation with others – in the UK and beyond – who care about the same ‘incurable’ challenges.


Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity is an independent, place-based foundation, working in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and others to tackle the major health challenges affecting people in urban, diverse and deprived areas. They work in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, supporting new approaches to health and care, and sharing insights with anyone facing similar challenges.

Uscreates is a strategic design consultancy working with people to design better ways of working, better services, better experiences, and ultimately better futures – improving health, care and wellbing through embedding a design approach across organisations.

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