Abu Yousef Md Abdullah Waterloo, ON
University of Waterloo

Stratas is proud to announce our third award winner, Abu Yousuf Md Abdullah, a Master’s student at the School of Public Health at the University of Waterloo. Abdullah’s award, the Kahro Family Scholarship ($3,000), was made possible by the generous support of Ryan Kahro and family. Abdullah’s research project will study the impact of how our built environment (i.e., cities, structures, architecture) impacts our mental health. Abduallah’s work builds on previous studies on how city design, poor daylight exposure, lack of vegetation and green spaces, overcrowding, and poor-quality housing affect social distress and well-being. His project has identified methodological flaws in previous studies, and attempts to work around them for a more robust analysis.

Specifically, Abdullah’s project will examine Toronto as a case study. He will use remote sensing, machine learning, and satellite data to identify “high-risk hotspots” for poor mental health in the City of Toronto, analyze trends between hotspots, and find associations between mental health data gathered from the Ontario Community Health Profiles Partnership and constructed built environment variables using spatial and non-spatial methods.

Abdullah will report his findings via publication in a peer-reviewed open-source journal. The project will take approximately six months.

We’re thrilled to sponsor this crucial research project which can be used to advise urban planning policy in Toronto and create vital new datasets from which future researchers can build upon. With Stratas’s financial assistance, Abdullah’s project will create new guidelines for public health officials and planners to design better, more mentally healthy cities.