Knowledge Exchange, Spatial Analysis & Healthy Urban Environments (KESUE): Project Report

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The Knowledge Exchange, Spatial Analysis and Healthy Urban Environments (KESUE) project has extended work previously undertaken by a QUB team of inter-disciplinary researchers engaged with the Physical Activity in the Regeneration of Connswater (PARC) project (Tully et al, 2013). The PARC project focussed on parts of East Belfast to assess the health impact of the Connswater Community Greenway. The KESUE project has aimed to extend some of the tools used initially in East Belfast so that they have data coverage of all of Belfast and Derry-Londonderry. The purpose of this has been to enable the development of evidence and policy tools that link features of the built environment with physical activity in these two cities. The project has used this data to help shape policy decisions in areas such as physical activity, park management, public transport and planning.

Working with a range of local partners who part-funded the project (City Councils in Belfast and Derry-Londonderry, Public Health Agency, Belfast Healthy Cities and Department of Regional Development), this project has mapped all the footpaths in the two cities (covering 37% of the NI population) and employed this to develop evidence used in strategies related to healthy urban planning. Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the footpath network has been used as a basis for a wide range of policy-relevant analyses including pedestrian accessibility to public facilities, site options for new infrastructure and assessing how vulnerable groups can access services such as pharmacies. Key outputs have been Accessibility Atlases and maps showing how walkability of the built environment varies across the two cities.

In addition to generating this useful data, the project included intense engagement with potential users of the research, which has led to its continued uptake in a number of policies and strategies, creating a virtuous circle of research, implementation and feedback. The project has proved so valuable to Belfast City Council that they have now taken on one of the researchers to continue the work in-house.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherQueen's University Belfast
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2013


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