Personal perspectives on urban health and wellbeing report
Our resources were left to us with the instruction to treat ‘the incurable’ health challenges of people living in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark.
The nature of these challenges has changed over time. They are today as complex as they have ever been. They relate not only to people’s physical and mental health, but also to what people perceive a healthy life to be; not only to the absence of illness, but also to the ability to thrive.
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.
Our boroughs are, in many respects, extreme examples of developed inner-cities. And it is in this light that our work to address the complex health challenges of Lambeth and Southwark can have relevance in other cities around the world.
We commissioned this research from Uscreates to inform our own thinking on the effect of urban, diverse and deprived environments on people’s health. The insights 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 environment, deprivation and high levels of diversity on people’s health. We hope, 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, and can partner with us in addressing them.