Helen Pineo is an urban planner and Research Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on how development, regeneration and urban policy can support health and sustainability. She contributes to the evidence base about why and how to do healthy urbanism by using transdisciplinary approaches and amplifying the needs of under-represented communities and the planet.
With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Helen is currently leading Change Stories, a research project that uses ethnographic methods to learn from the cultures, narratives and contexts that have supported shifts to equitable and sustainable development. She is co-investigator on a study investigating the health and health equality impacts of housing converted from non-residential buildings in England, funded by the UK National Institute for Health and Care Research. Her past research has used participatory, systems thinking and other methods, to study: overcrowding and COVID, integration of health objectives in new property development, conceptualization of multi-scalar health impacts of urban environments (see Healthy Urbanism, Palgrave Macmillan, 2022), evidence use in government policy and decision-making, and urban health indicators and their use by planners.
Helen’s teaching and postgraduate supervision covers a broad range of healthy and sustainable urban environment topics. Her outreach activities include collaboration and advisory work with international organizations including the World Health Organization, the NHS England Healthy New Towns Programme, the Dubai Land Department, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society and the Obesity Health Alliance, among others.
Prior to joining UW in 2023, Helen lived and worked in London for 16 years. Most recently, she was an Associate Professor at University College London. Previously, she worked as an urban planner for over a decade on new developments and planning policy in the UK and internationally. She has worked at the Building Research Establishment, Local Government Association and in national and local government in the areas of sustainable urbanisation, health, climate change and low carbon energy. Helen holds degrees in Community and Environmental Planning and English Literature (B.A. 2003, UW), Linguistics (M.A., 2006, UCL) and Healthy and Sustainable Built Environments (Ph.D., 2019, UCL). She is a chartered member of the Royal Town Planning Institute.