Individual health and health inequalities are shaped by the geographical context where people live and by its physical (e.g. pollution, climate, green spaces) and social (e.g. socio-economic deprivation, housing, access to health services) characteristics.
For this reason, the Health and Territory Lab develops research in the areas of environmental epidemiology, spatial epidemiology and health geography, in order to understand how the health of individuals and populations is influenced by this vast and complex network of factors that have an impact in various contexts including residence, study, work, and leisure, from conception to old age.
The goals of this laboratory are:
- To study the influence of exposure to environmental pollution, climate extremes and green and blue spaces on physical and mental health.
- To investigate the consequences of the housing crisis and subsequent socio-spatial processes (gentrification, relocation and residential insecurity) on the health of the population of the Porto Metropolitan Area.
- To investigate the spatial-temporal distribution and the determinants of the incidence and (re)introduction of communicable diseases, such as tuberculosis, COVID-19 and vector-borne diseases.
- Assess the impact of emerging environmental risks, such as climate change and environmental degradation on population health, and evaluate mitigation and adaptation strategies.
To meet these goals, the lab uses longitudinal data from population cohorts and small-area statistics, and uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, and spatial and multilevel statistics as core tools.
The research results of the Health and Territory Lab have a high potential impact on Public Health and great political and economical relevance, aiming to generate evidence to guide health and spatial planning policies towards the creation of healthy, sustainable and inclusive environments.