Deepti Adlakha


  • Room 03.020 - David Keir Building

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the field of: Built/Natural Environment and Public Health Active Living and Transportation Community Health and Well-being Urban Transformations in Developing Countries/Global South Big Data and Emerging Technologies


Research output per year

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Personal profile


Dr. Adlakha is an interdisciplinary scientist with a varied educational background including degrees in architecture, urban design and public health. She completed her undergraduate degree at the School of Architecture and Planning (India), studied urban design as a Fulbright Scholar (USA), and obtained a Ph.D. at the Prevention Research Centre, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis (USA) where she worked on cross-cutting solutions to environmental health problems.


Ph.D., Prevention Research Centre, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, United States, 2016

Master of Urban Design (M.UD) - Fulbright Fellow, Washington University in St. Louis, United States, 2011

Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.), School of Architecture and Planning, Chennai, India, 2007

Research Statement

Dr. Adlakha's research focuses on generating, translating and scaling up evidence for reducing environmental health and social disparities, particularly factors affecting prevention, control and mitigation of chronic and acute non-communicable diseases in populations. Her interests lie in understanding relationships between the built environment and health, documenting and improving geospatial health disparities, and using and improving measures to quantify obesity-related behaviours (physical activity, diet) and relevant exposures (social and built environment) using GIS, accelerometry, GPS, geostatistical approaches, and other new technologies.

Dr. Adlakha serves as Associate Editor for ‘Cities and Health, a new journal encouraging cross-disciplinary understanding and research for city development to support human health. Her research has been featured in a TED talk, a BBC series on urban healthScientific AmericanThe Conversation (UK and Indonesia), and other media outlets. She has been interviewed by international news agencies and published op-eds in leading daily newspapers.

Dr. Adlakha's existing programme of research goes beyond purely descriptive research to work that develops, models, and tests potential solutions to improve the quality of urban living for people across all age groups, with a particular emphasis on low-and-middle-income countries. Consistent with her teaching, she has been most interested in projects with real dissemination, implementation, and translation opportunities. Her work as PI and Co-I on externally funded, multi-year grants exploring healthy cities across study sites in the UK, Brazil, Colombia, India, and Malaysia highlights this research theme and translation. Much of this work has been transnational in nature, working with academics, practitioners, policymakers and community groups in the developed and developing world. Her methodologies are largely participatory, working with participants as co-researchers and co-creators of knowledge, and undertaking community mapping, participatory research, and other visual methods to address aspects of health and well-being, social sustainability, and age-friendly cities.  

Current research

Dr. Adlakha's current research examines the implications of COVID-19 on cities, and how the agendas of public health and urbanism can be shaped together for the future. One of her recent publications outlines an international public health research agenda (COVID-19 Special Issue of the Journal of Sport and Health Science), establishes a registry of COVID-19 studies, and was summarised in a research brief. A second manuscript addresses common concerns that high-density walkable communities increase risk of COVID-19 infections (COVID-19 Special Issue of Cities and Health), with a companion commentary in The Conversation (UK) and a TEDx talk on designing for health and equity. Moving forward, she has two projects titled, ‘Re-imagining street design for COVID-19 recovery’, and ‘Healthy and active ageing: Environmental and social supports for older adults in Colombia’.


Dr. Adlakha delivers a range of interdisciplinary courses spanning urban design, environmental planning and public health. Her list of taught courses includes Transdisciplinary Problem-Solving—From the Inside-Out: Public Health and the Built Environment, Foundations of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Grassroots Approaches to Designing Healthy Communities and Neighbourhoods.

She currently teaches the following courses:

  1. Design Principles in the Built Environment (BSc Planning, Environment and Development)
  2. Comparative Planning Studies (BSc Planning, Environment and Development)
  3. Spatial Literacy in Design (MSc City Planning and Design)
  4. Independent Research Projects/ Work-based Studies in European Planning Practice (MPlan European Planning)


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