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Opportunities of Research in Well Being and the Built Environment

Wednesday 5 November, 12.30pm - 3.30pm, IAS Seminar Room, Millburn House

A seminar followed by a workshop for early career and PhD students.

The design of the environment in which we live and work makes a real difference to our health and wellbeing and to the future of our planet. There is growing recognition of this worldwide, resulting in a new interest in research on the built environment. Current research in this field spans a large number of disciplines from architecture, planning and engineering to transport, public health, medicine, psychology and social science (amongst others). If you have an interest in the built environment – buildings, places, spaces, neighbourhoods – but are afraid of venturing into an unknown field, then this seminar is for you. It will outline the key areas of interest within the emerging agenda (e.g. reducing obesity, creating sustainable communities, addressing climate change) and explain how you could engage with the built environment in your own research. There will be a lecture by Elizabeth Burton (Professor or Architecture and Wellbeing at Oxford Brookes University and IAS Visiting Fellow) followed by workshops to explore opportunities in more detail. The seminar will cover the following issues:

• Why built environment research is important
• How built environment research is relevant to policy and practice
• What research needs to be done
• How this research can be done (methodological and funding issues)

The seminar is of relevance to any researcher or research student with an interest in the built environment, but particularly to those from the following fields:

• Social studies
• Health
• Medicine
• Psychology
• Public health
• Epidemiology
• Engineering
• Energy
• Sustainability

Professor Elizabeth Burton MA Cantab DipArch DipUD PhD
Professor of Architecture and Wellbeing, Department of Architecture, Oxford Brookes University; Director of WISE (Wellbeing in Sustainable Environments) research unit in OISD (Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development)

Professor Burton is founder director of the WISE (Wellbeing in Sustainable Environments) research unit within the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development ( Her research investigates the social aspects of sustainable urban form, in particular how the built environment (architecture and urban design) influences people’s wellbeing, quality of life and mental health. She has particular expertise in ageing research, including dementia-friendly design. WISE recently developed the Neighbourhoods for Life concept, which has been referenced in the National Strategy for Housing in an Ageing Society: Lifetime Homes, Lifetime Neighbourhoods (DCLG, 2008). Professor Burton has won close to £4.7 million in research grants, mainly from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. She is partner in an EPSRC Research Consortium, Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors (I'DGO – see, which is investigating how the outdoor environment should be designed to optimise older people’s wellbeing.

12.30pm-3.30pm (lunch provided), Institute of Advanced Study Seminar Room, First Floor, Millburn House.

Please book a place with Jas Bains, email