PhD Student

About me

I am currently studying for a PhD at Imperial College London. In collaboration with in WWT, I am exploring how natural environments such as wetlands, parks and forests impact human health. This research is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council under their Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet doctoral training partnership.

Prior to starting my PhD, I was a researcher at the ETH-Zurich Future Cities Lab in Singapore. I investigated the composition and structure of urban vegetation and how these factors impacted provision of ecosystem services (such as urban heat island effect mitigation and recreation), their economic value and biodiversity. Before this role, I was an environmental consultant, working on environmental impact assessments and pollution control studies also in Singapore. I have also worked professionally as a gardener. I hold an MSc in Environmental Management from the National University of Singapore and a BSc in Forestry.

My project

The overall aim of my PhD research is to identify and assess important and understudied factors that affect the relationship between urban green and blue space with health. Such knowledge can inform future city design and planning. I will investigate this relationship at different levels. At the national level, I will explore whether the health of people in an area is linked to a) the length of paths adjacent to waterbodies in green spaces, and b) the population pressure on green and blue spaces. On a local level, I will be using field experiments to explore if experiencing water and vegetation together is more beneficial to stress reduction and reduction of cognitive fatigue than either alone.


  • Epidemiology and biostatistics
  • Spatial analysis
  • Environmental psychology
  • Urban ecology


Richards, D.R., Fung, T.K., Belcher, R.N., Edwards, P.J. (2020). Differential air temperature cooling performance of urban vegetation types in the tropics. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 50.

Richards, D.R., Belcher, R.N. (2020). Global changes in urban vegetation cover. Remote Sensing, 12.

Belcher, R.N., Suen, E., Menz, S., Schroepfer, T. (2019). Shared landscapes increase condominium unit selling price in a high-density city. Landscape and Urban Planning, 192.

Belcher, R. N., Sadanandan, K. R., Goh, E., Jie Yi, C., Menz, S. Schroepfer, T. (2018). Vegetation on and around large-scale buildings positively influences native tropical bird abundance and bird species richness. Urban Ecosystems, 22.

Belcher, R. N., Chisholm, R.A. (2018). Tropical Vegetation and Residential Property Value: A Hedonic Pricing Analysis in Singapore. Ecological Economics, 149.

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