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University of Bath

Tackling the Root causes Upstream of Unhealthy Urban Development

A research programme aiming to reduce non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through changes to urban planning and development policy and practice.

The TRUUD logo
This research project aims to understand how prevention of NCDs might be fully considered and factored in to the decision-making of those in control of the quality of our urban environments.

Tackling the Root causes Upstream of Unhealthy Urban Development – or TRUUD (pronounced ‘TRUE-D’) – is a £10-million (£6.6 million awarded by UKPRP) five-year programme to look urban planning and development systems with a view to embedding the prevention of risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and health inequalities.

A partnership of six universities, led by the University of Bristol, has examined what needs to change and is working on six areas of intervention to provide evidence and tools to change the way policy-makers and industry-decision makers consider health when planning changes to urban communities. These include:

  • Changing the mindset of developer industry leaders
  • Working with real-estate investors
  • Working with national government
  • Tools for transport planning (working with Transport for Greater Manchester)
  • Tools for spatial planning (working with Bristol City Council)
  • Working with law and local government
  • Public engagement

Alongside the specific interventions the programme also has strands examining working in systems, the economics of health and the environment (developing an evaluation tool for planners) and research on research.

Visit the TRUUD website to find out more.


NCDs make up the vast majority of illnesses in the UK, accounting for an estimated 89 per cent of all deaths. These projects aim to deliver real changes that reduce the burden of these diseases on our health and social care systems and enable people to live longer, healthier lives.

Many aspects of the world around us influence our health, from the communities in which we live, to the design of our cities and transport systems, the quality of our housing and education. There is strong evidence to show that wider factors such as these, often called ‘upstream determinants’, can have a great influence on how healthy our lives will be.

No single research funder has the resources or expertise to address these complex issues on their own, which is why a partnership of twelve funders including charities, UKRI research councils and the UK health and social care departments established the multi million-pound UK Prevention Research Partnership (UKPRP) in 2017.

UKPRP research grants aim to develop, test and refine new, practical and cost-effective approaches to preventing non-communicable diseases at this bigger picture level, which will in turn help to reduce health inequalities across the UK.

Project team

TRUUD brings together experts from a wide range of different disciplines to prioritise health. Visit the TRUUD team pages to find out more.