Understanding the health and wellbeing penalty paid by poorer or vulnerable urban residents demands a deeper community-level study of their lived experiences of urban development and the impact of ordinary urban spaces on their health and well-being.

This project, which was funded by SHLC’s Capacity Development Acceleration Fund, is undertaking pilot research at the neighbourhood scale in Thailand and Kenya to identify these relationships using citizen science approaches to gather non-traditional data that could inform urban planning processes.


Issues of poverty are intertwined with processes of urban development, as it is usually the poorest urban residents who have the least voice in development decisions and are most likely to suffer the negative consequences of organic urban change.

In Nakuru (Kenya), informal settlements and poorer parts of the city have weak infrastructure provision of basic services, while the city is rapidly expanding in line with its recent application to be conferred ‘city’ status. Udon Thani, like the rest of Thailand, has an ageing population and preliminary analysis indicates that the use of public spaces such as lakes and parks reduce with age.

The study aims to target these two groups of marginalized people and understand their unique challenges with respect to achieving inclusive and healthy cities, given rapid urbanization and development pressures.

Credit: SEI Asia

This research project has been informed by preliminary research that established links between urban forms and well-being in the cities of Udon Thani, Thailand and Nakuru, Kenya. A variety of methods will be used incorporating the results from the previous work. These include carrying out time and place activities diaries, using personal monitoring sensors, using photo-voice and mental mapping methods, and assessing the extent the lack of basic infrastructure and housing in informal settlements affect well-being.

The findings of the study expect to produce a deeper insight into the relationships between urban spaces and wellbeing generally, as well as for two population sub-groups: the poorest in Nakuru, and the elderly in Udon Thani.

This project aims to:

  1. Strengthen capacity amongst municipal staff to consider inclusion of different population groups that may face varying challenges, and how non-traditional data can be useful
  2. Identify urban planning and policy approaches to ensure urban development is both more inclusive and healthier.

Project Outputs

The project was led by Dr. Diane Archer from Stockholm Environment Institute Asia.

This research project ‘Towards More Inclusive Urban Planning in Udon Thani (Thailand) and Nakuru (Kenya)’ was funded by the Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC)’s Capacity Development Acceleration Fund. SHLC is funded via UK Research and Innovation as part of the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.