Current Project

Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health (CUSSH)

Program: Urbanization and Wellbeing in Africa

Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health (CUSSH) is a four-year program that will run from 2018 – 2021. It aims to deliver strategically vital research on the complex connections between urban development and health within city systems.

CUSSH will utilize multidisciplinary methods to develop critical evidence on how to achieve the transformations that cities need to address the environmental challenges of the 21st century. In addition, it will provide transferable evidence on how to accelerate actions essential to achieving large-scale changes in sectors such as energy, transport, water, sanitation, and housing. The program will embed public engagement, training and co-generation of research throughout its duration.

The program’s objectives are:

  • Publish a systematic review of potential solutions for healthy sustainable urban development which addresses the role of technological innovation, city governance, financing mechanisms, infrastructure and behaviour change;
  • Establish methods for tracking and evaluation of the progress towards city-specific sustainability and health goals;
  • Develop and apply models of impact on population health, health inequalities, and socioeconomic and environmental components of alternative urban development pathways;
  • Use participatory methods to undertake continuous engagements with stakeholders in selected partner cities in order to test processes to help implement the transformative changes needed to meet sustainability and health objectives;
  • To develop a programme of public engagement and capacity building to ensure co-creation and use of research evidence by decision-makers and other stakeholders to help ensure environmental and health objectives receive appropriate attention in policy.

CUSSH is a global program that will be conducted in three countries representing high-, middle- and lower-income nations. These participating countries are Kenya, France and China. Two different-sized cities within each of the three countries will form the program study sites. In Kenya, the focal cities are Nairobi and Kisumu. The program will partner with the administrative authorities within these two cities and engagement towards this end has been ongoing since 2016. While the specific sectors that CUSSH will focus on have not been finalized, the transport, energy, housing and water sectors were identified as priorities during initial engagement with representatives from the two cities.

PROJECT PERIOD: March 2018 to February 2022


The program team consists of a diverse set of partners, led by the University College London (UCL). Other consortium members are the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Buro Happold Engineering and the World Health Organization (WHO). The African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) will lead the work in Kenya with the two cities – Nairobi and Kisumu.

Project Funders

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