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London's Poverty Profile: Map of the Month - what makes a neighbourhood healthy?

Author: Oliver O'Brien, researcher and software developer at the UCL Department of Geography

This month we look at the Access to Healthy Assets and Hazards Index, developed by the Consumer Data Research Centre to show variations in factors that contribute to neighbourhood health across the UK. The index was first released in 2017, with the third version of the index published in May 2022.

The index is made of four subject domains, each of which integrates a number of source measures, such as the distance to the nearest high-street gambling establishment or the modelled average concentration of sulpher dioxide pollution. The four domains are retail, health, blue/green space accessibility and air quality. For each, we map the quintiles that each small area in London falls into, with respect to the results across the whole of the UK. This allows us to both compare and contrast variations across London itself, but also how the city fares against the national average. The healthiest neighbourhoods have restricted access to retail "vices" such as gambling, pubs and fast-food outlets, but good access to health services such as doctors and hospitals, are in close proximity to recreational green space or "blue space" (water-based leisure) and have better air quality, with lower concentrations of the major pollutants associated with traffic and other emission sources.

Map of the Month May IMAGE.png

About the author

The Map of the Month is produced by Oliver O'Brien. Oliver is a researcher and software developer at the UCL Department of Geography, where he investigates and implementing new ways to visualise spatial data, including mapping of open demographic and socioeconomic datasets, particularly London-focused ones, using OpenLayers. In the past he’s analysed educational geodemographics, UK census data and London travel flows, and created a number of popular visualisations such as CityDashboard, the Bike Share Map and the London Tube Stats Map. Formerly a financial software programmer, he studied for an MSc in GIS at City University London, and joined UCL in 2008, working at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis and in Geography. In his leisure time he contributes to the OpenStreetMap project, which aims to create a free Wikipedia-style map of the whole world, as well as competing in and organising orienteering races. He blogs at oobrien.com and co-edits mappinglondon.co.uk.

May 2022