GW4 researchers tour South West and Wales to ask: what is a healthy space?

January 18, 2018

Crowdsourced opinions on ‘healthy spaces’ to drive interdisciplinary research plans

Researchers from the GW4 Alliance are touring hospitals, community centres and neighbourhood forums to find out what makes a ‘healthy space’.

A social media campaign has also been launched simultaneously to crowdsource opinions on what makes the ideal ‘healthy space’: is it access to the outdoors? Arts and music? Peace and quiet?

The group of five 2017 GW4 Crucible alumni will collate all responses to inform a workshop on healthy spaces with architects, designers and academic experts to be held at the University of Bristol in February 2018. This workshop will lay the foundations for a collaborative, interdisciplinary research group exploring ‘healthy spaces’ across the GW4 Alliance and beyond.

Researchers Dr Lucy Selman, Co-Engagement Lead, and Dr Victoria Bates, both of University of Bristol, held a public engagement event at Southmead Hospital in Bristol this week to gather opinions and received over 70 responses, from “the gym” to “my bed!”

Next, Dr Hannah Pitt, Co-Engagement Lead, and Dr Des Fitzgerald, both of Cardiff University, will be visiting the Grange Pavilion, which is based in the Grangetown area of the city and is supported by Cardiff University’s flagship engagement project, Community Gateway. Drs Pitt and Fitzgerald plan to attend youth clubs and neighbourhood forums to gather a wide variety of responses on ‘healthy spaces’.

Dr Lucy Selman said: “The views of the public are essential in understanding what makes a space ‘healthy’ – whether that space is a healthcare setting, a housing complex, or a community centre. Public engagement is therefore at the heart of our Rethinking Healthy Spaces Project.

The perceptions gathered through the public engagement events in Bristol and Cardiff, and a social media campaign, will help us to engage with designers, architects and academics at a workshop in February called ‘Rethinking healthy spaces – evidence, evaluation and design’. We hope this will help us to establish a collaborative, interdisciplinary research group across GW4. We would like to thank all those who have contributed to the project so far, the response has been fantastic!”

If you would like to share your thoughts on ‘what makes a healthy space’, follow @Spaces4Health and join the debate on Twitter.

This project has been supported by the GW4 Crucible Seedcorn Fund.