17th-18th March 2009
B1.16 Lecture Theatre
Warwick Business School, Scarman Road Building
University of Warwick
Organisers: Elizabeth Burton, Gillian Hundt, Davide Nicolini
The importance of the research area
There is growing recognition of the impact of the built environment – buildings, housing, streets and neighbourhoods – on our health and wellbeing. For example, evidence suggests that there is a link between obesity and the design of the neighbourhoods, and between depression and the physical form of housing. There is a strong focus on the built environment in attempting to achieve more sustainable communities. However, as yet our knowledge of what aspects of design are positive or negative for wellbeing is limited. Further, the built environment professions are based on a culture of originality and creativity rather than evidence. New homes and neighbourhoods are being built all the time. We need to know more about their likely impacts, in order to create places in which we can thrive as communities, now and in the future.
The purpose of the symposium
As yet, there is relatively little research being carried out on the built environment and wellbeing – it is an emerging research field. There are many reasons for this, including the absence of evidence-based design in architectural education, and difficulties in overcoming methodological challenges. The research is inevitably multidisciplinary, spanning architecture, planning, engineering, transport, public health, medicine, psychology and social science (amongst others). The purpose of the symposium is to bring together key researchers in this emerging field in order to:
- Share knowledge
- Foster collaborations
- Identify barriers to the research (e.g. in funding and methods) and how these may be overcome
- Consider the creation an international research network
The ultimate aim is to build capacity in this research field, to maximise its potential contribution to policy and practice worldwide.