Privacy policy

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Urban Mind is a research project by King’s College London, landscape architects J&L Gibbons and arts foundation Nomad Projects. The results will be used to inform novel clinical interventions and to plan and design healthier cities. This Privacy Policy explains the data we collect from you using the Urban Mind smartphone app, how we process, store and use it, and how we may share it.

Who is responsible?

For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018 (“The Act”), King’s College London is the data controller. This means that King’s College London is responsible for protecting the data you provide when you use the Urban Mind app. By using the word ‘we’, we refer to King’s College London. We have adopted this Privacy Policy to ensure that the data that we collect from you via the Urban Mind app is protected. By publishing this Privacy Policy, we aim to make it easy for you to understand what data we collect and store, how and why we collect it, and the rights you have as an individual to access your data. This policy applies to all forms of information, physical and digital, whether collected or stored electronically or in hardcopy.

The information we collect and how we collect it

When you install, run or use the Urban Mind app, we collect data from you. You provide your consent for us to collect this data when you start using the app. Your consent to provide this data can be changed at any time using the ‘Settings’ menu in the app. You provide this data anonymously, so we don’t know who you are, and we cannot identify you as an individual.

We collect the following data from you:

Information about you as an individual. When you use the Urban Mind app, you provide information about your age, gender, occupation, lifestyle and wellbeing. You also provide information about your current environment, feelings, thoughts and behaviour. You will not be asked to provide your name, contact details or any other information which could identify you.

Geographic location

With your specific consent, we will acquire information about your geographic location using the GPS sensor on your mobile phone. The Urban Mind app collects location data from sources such as GPS, Wi-Fi and cell towers once you install the app and consent to the app tracking your location. You can decide whether we track your location all the time, only when the Urban Mind app is running, or not at all. You may choose to stop or change our collection of location data through at any time using the ‘Settings’ menu in the app.

Physical activity

With your specific consent, we will acquire information about your physical activity from your smartphone. We collect your step count, distance travelled and whether you are walking, running or cycling. You can decide whether to provide all, some or none of this data. You may choose to stop or change our collection of physical activity data at any time using the ‘Settings’ menu in the app.

Photographs and audio recordings

After each assessment when you use the app, you will have the option of taking a photograph of the ground or floor where you are standing and/or an 8-second audio recording of your current environment. You may choose to delete this data at any time using the ‘Settings’ menu in the app.

How we process and use your information

We process and use the information we collect about you in a variety of ways. We upload your information from your smartphone over a secure connection to servers provided by an external cloud hosting provider in order to analyse the data. Some of this information is processed and sent back to your smartphone over a secure connection so that you can review and interact with it. The information you provide will be used for academic research to understand the impact of the urban and rural environment on mental health and wellbeing, to inform novel clinical interventions and for the planning and design of healthier cities.

The data may also be used for other research purposes in the future. The results will be published in scientific journals and presented on our web site dedicated to the project ( and social media. If you post publicly about Urban Mind using social media, or communicate directly with us, using the Urban Mind website or on a social media website, we may collect and process the data contained in such posts for the purpose of addressing any requests you may have and for public engagement connected with the research project.

How we store your information

The information you provide using the Urban Mind app is stored on your phone until you uninstall the app. When you connect to a Wi-Fi or cellular mobile phone network, your information is transferred to our servers over the internet in an encrypted format. We encrypt the data you provide using the app so that it remains private, confidential and secure from unauthorised access. Your data is stored securely on King’s College London servers and with a secure external cloud service provider. The external cloud service provider is currently Microsoft Azure. We reserve the right to change the external data storage provider at any time in the future. The data that we collect from you will be stored in the European Economic Area (EEA). However, it may be transferred to and stored at a destination outside the EEA, in order to collaborate with other organisations for research purposes in the future. Data may also be processed by third parties and/or staff operating outside the EEA who provide services to us in connection with the research purposes. We will retain data to fulfil the purposes outlined in this policy for an indefinite period of time.

How we may share your information

Your participation in the Urban Mind research project is anonymous, private and confidential. The information you provide will remain with King’s College London, and may be shared securely with the project partners (J&L Gibbons and Nomad Projects) and with other organisations collaborating on the project for research purposes. The information you provide may also be shared securely with organisations who provide services to us in connection with the research purposes, for example data storage, as stated in this Privacy Policy. We will not disclose your information to unrelated organisations or third parties under any circumstances.

How we keep your information safe and secure

We take your privacy, confidentiality and the security of your information very seriously and we will take all reasonable precautions to protect your data from unauthorised access. This includes appropriately securing our electronic networks, servers, computers and physical facilities. We store information on King’s College London servers and in the cloud. Our external cloud service provider is currently Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Azure secures the data using technology called ‘256-bit advanced encryption’, which provides a very high level of security, and does not itself have access to the data. We reserve the right to use a different storage provider in future, and if we change provider we will update this Privacy Policy accordingly.

We will endeavour to ensure that our partners or any third parties to which we may transfer data according to the terms of this Privacy Policy have acceptable privacy and security policies. We will govern the sharing of information for research purposes or in relation to services provided to us in connection with the research purposes, by data sharing agreements which will ensure that third parties keep the data safe and secure. However, the collection and use of an individual’s information by such partners or third parties may be subject to separate privacy and security policies for which King’s College London is not responsible.

Cookie policy

Our app/website may use cookies to distinguish you from other users of our app/website. This helps us to provide you with a good experience when you browse our app/website and also allows us to improve our app/website. Your consent will be obtained prior to our use of cookies on our app/website and you are able to revoke that consent following the procedure below. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we store on your browser or the hard drive of your device if you agree. Cookies contain information that is transferred to your device’s hard drive. You block cookies by activating the setting on your browser that allows you to refuse the setting of all or some cookies. However, if you use your browser settings to block all cookies (including essential cookies) you may not be able to access all or parts of our app/website for which we require the use of cookies.

Complaints and disputes

If you have a complaint about our handling of your data, you should address your complaint in writing to the Project Lead. You have the right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority if you consider that the processing of your data infringes the General Data Protection Regulation. If we have a dispute regarding your data, we both must first attempt to resolve the issue directly between us. If we become aware of any unauthorised access to your data which is likely to result in a high risk for your rights and freedoms, we will inform you without undue delay, once we have established what was accessed and how it was accessed, by posting a notice on our website. We do not have contact details for you, as your participation in the Urban Mind study is anonymous, so we are unable to contact you directly.

Additions to this Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to modify this Privacy Policy at any time. If we decide to do this, we will post a notification on our website and we will post a new version of the Privacy Policy on our website and on the Urban Mind app. Changes and clarifications will take effect immediately upon posting on our website.

Contacting us

If you have any questions or communications regarding privacy, please contact the project lead in writing or by e-mail:

Professor Andrea Mechelli
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience
King’s College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK / +44 (0)20 7848 0289