At Home with Children: Liveable Space for the COVID-19 challenge

Lead Research Organisation: Newcastle University
Department Name: Architecture Planning and Landscape

Abstract

This study focuses on the uneven psychological and social impact of the pandemic on children, young people and their families through the hidden-in-plain-sight factor of physical domestic space. Many studies challenge the idea of home as a 'haven', arguing that domestic space is also a place of family conflict and negotiation. This challenge has been exacerbated by COVID-19. As a pattern of epidemic ebb and flow becomes a potential long-term reality, increased density of occupation over time and disrupted home-life norms will see the 'liveability' of dwellings for children and their families stretched beyond original capacities, affecting mental health, productivity and well-being.

Informed by a nationwide survey and experiential accounts of child and adult family members, this research explores inter-relationships between social experience, psychological well-being and everyday domestic space. With a focus on the liveability of dwellings set against complex home/school/work conditions, the study also captures spatial forms of resilience that have emerged in response to COVID-19, to better support families' social and psychological well-being. These inventive responses will be synthesised through a co-design process, leading to an evidence-based 'Home-Hack Toolkit' for widespread dissemination directly to families. The broader findings will inform urgent policy-making that better supports those at risk of the pandemic's psychological and social impacts, by identifying the domestic settings and socio-spatial scenarios that present the greatest challenges to families. For longer-term structural impact, the data will also permit testing of UK domestic space standards, creating a crucial resource to inform liveable dwellings for a contemporary 'pandemic-ready' context.

Publications

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Description BPS News article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The British Psychological Society media contact attended the At Home with Children Stakeholder Event and then wrote an article about this event and the interim findings that were presented. The purpose was to share the interim findings with their membership - psychologists - many of whom work with families.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://www.bps.org.uk/news-and-policy/study-presents-evidence-impact-people's-housing-their-health-...
 
Description Intergenerational Foundation Blog 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Intergenerational Foundation requested that we write an article on our project for their Blog. This raised awareness of the project among their own members and followers which includes a wide range of housing professionals, policy makers and general public - ie householders. the blog led to further queries and requests from other organisations to meet and led to recruitment for the research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.if.org.uk/2021/05/28/at-home-with-children-be-part-of-the-research/
 
Description Presentation as part of the Pandemic Parenting event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The online event explored Pandemic Parenting from different perspectives and was open to the general public and academics at Newcastle University. Our presentation raised awareness of the project and shared our emerging findings. The presentation sparked discussion and questions afterwards and led to recruitment of further research participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Presentation to the RIBA Housing Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Architects and professionals working in Housing attended to hear about the project aims. This sparked discussion and questions about the potential scope of the project and is potential impacts. Through the discussion the participants (potential users of the research outputs) helped to shape the direction of the research and its outputs. Awareness of the project was raised and the presentation and discussion sparked later follow-up queries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Project website: At Home with Children 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact The website raises awareness of the project, describing its aims, methods and sharing updates about events and outputs. It also invites participation in the research and gives detailed information about ethics and consent. So far the main purposes have been to inform (potential) participants about the details of the project and to direct interested professionals and third sector organisations towards. This has generated follow-up questions and contact.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://athomewithchildren.ac.uk
 
Description Stakeholder Event 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact A free online event open to all to share interim project findings and get stakeholder (future output users') perspectives on our next steps. A presentation wads followed by breakout discussion groups which were intended to inform our project outputs and help to tailor these to our various potential audiences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
URL https://athomewithchildren.ac.uk/newsevents/onlinestakeholdersevent.html