The spatio-temporal pattern of urban green infrastructure and its associations with urban human mortality

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This joint PhD project is based at Shanghai Jiao Tong University with a 12-month stay at the University of Melbourne.

The main research questions of this project are:

  1. What are the spatiotemporal patterns of urban green infrastructure (UGI) in Shanghai and Melbourne in the past three decades?
  2. How did UGI patterns evolve with urbanisation processes in the two cities?
  3. Are there associations between UGI and all-cause mortality in Shanghai and Melbourne? If there are, what are the differences between the cities?
  4. What is the impact of UGI on specific disease-caused mortality of respiratory, cardiovascular and mental in Shanghai and Melbourne?

Project description:

The project aims to reveal the spatial and temporal patterns of urban green infrastructure (UGI) in Shanghai and Melbourne using satellite images and aerial photos to map the changes in UGI in both cities. We will then explore the associations between UGI and all-cause mortality in Shanghai and Melbourne between 2000 and 2018 using various statistical methods and modelling.

The results are expected to provide insights into healthy urban planning and urban public health for both cities. The project also aims to establish substantial collaboration networks among colleagues and to advance cooperation in research and education between two universities.

We propose the hypothesis that UGI has a high association with urban human mortality and can specifically reduce the mortality of some relevant diseases such as respiratory, cardiovascular, mental etc.

To address these questions, the project needs to collect some essential data from Shanghai and Melbourne including:

  1. time-series remotely sensed imageries acquired by satellites such as Landsat, Sentinel-2, etc., and high spatial resolution commercial data such as Worldview, Quickbird, and aerial plane or vehicles;
  2. community and neighbourhood-based all-cause mortality and census data;
  3. the structural and compositional data of UGI which need a lot of field investigation; and
  4. socio-economic, environmental and ecological, and meteorological data.

The project will conduct various analyses such as statistical analysis, spatial analysis, modelling, etc., to find whether the UGI can be accessed easily and safely, and to quantify the various ecosystem services UGI provide to urban residents in Shanghai and Melbourne, and whether there are associations and relationships between UGI and human mortality given that there are some air, soil and water pollutions.

As an outcome, there are three papers that the SJTU- based PhD project would produce:

  1. The spatiotemporal patterns of urban green infrastructure and their accessibility to urban residents in Melbourne and Shanghai.
  2. The health effects of UGI on urban human population, especially on human mortality in Melbourne and Shanghai.
  3. the relationship or associations between UGI and urban human mortality, specifically on respiratory, cardiovascular, mental in Melbourne and Shanghai.

The project will be complemented by the project on 'Site and landscape-scale drivers of biodiversity-related to human health and wellbeing in Melbourne and Shanghai' and the collaboration will ensure the successful completion of both projects.

Supervision team

Professor Junxiang Li (Shanghai Jiao Tong University)
Dr Amy Hahs (The University of Melbourne)

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