The Analysis of Well-being Parameters Operating within the Environment of Castle Vale - the Application of Systems Approaches (a Pilot Study)

Lead Research Organisation: Birmingham City University
Department Name: Unlisted

Abstract

Research examines the relationship between health and the environment to look at the complexity of the factors that impact upon personal well-being, responding to the EPSRC call on 'Systems Approaches to Well-being' by the formation of a research team that incorporates experienced academics from the disciplines of health, landscape, environment and engineering. To progress understanding and to assist in the design of appropriate environments, requires exchange of information between researchers and investigation into the parameters which affect well-being, to decipher the complexity of the relationships between individuals and their environment. Castle Vale, located to the east of Birmingham, UK, forms the focus of study where, by using systems approaches borrowed from the enginering sector, the experience of the individual and how it can be defined/identified within a real case study area is to be studied and modelled. The parameters relating to well-being are to be examined in an holistic way taking a multidisciplinary approach, considering the extensive existing data in respect of Castle Vale, to be interpreted within the perspectives of different disciplines and using the expertise of those with advanced knowledge of systems approaches, but who are currently outside the wellbeing debate. Systems approaches are used as a mechanism to decode data sets, inform analysis, to provide interdisciplinary engagement, and to generate theory; to discuss ideas and concepts via the formation of a wider academic and professional network and to ground concepts in the reality of a definable landscape and residential area. Research is facilitated by the holding of network workshops which focus stages of investigation, allow the examination of data and lead to specific defined outputs and dissemination over a period of 24 months. The summary objectives of the research include:To model citizen well-being using a systems approach applied to the case study area of Castle Vale in relation to the experience of the individualTo explore the parameters which impact upon the well-being of the individual within a residential environment To explore/develop theoretical perspectives on the wellbeing of the individual To develop a supporting multidisciplinary network of researchers and practitionersTo develop theoretical, systems based, approaches regarding the well-being of the individual which are especially relevant to the agenda of health and the design of the urban environment To establish and utilise an interface between researchers/academics and practitioners from different disciplines to explore approaches, definitions and theories relating to the experience of the individual regarding their personal well-beingTo investigate (and establish for future research) a case study site which can be described and analysed using systems approaches, which integrates different academic and professional perspectives including user aspects and interactions.To benefit the residents of Castle ValeTo inform the research agenda and future actions
 
Description The project explored the factors operating in Castle Vale, Birmingham UK, that underpin well-being, identifying the multi-dimensions that need to be considered, especially as they relate to the individual. Key aspects include methodologies for exploring well-being including the use and development of a memory stall, photography projects, community engagement projects, computer simulation, community engagement, analysing past initiatives and similar to investigate their impact or potential impact in understanding well-being. Community engagement was developed through holding events during a health and environment day, with further engagement with local schools, community groups and the local press. Emphasis was placed on individual well-being and the need to take personal aspects into account eg experience, personal characteristics. Using these parameters a model of environmental interaction and well-being was produced which is capable of showing well-being boosts as individuals move around their estate. Importantly this model takes primary account of the characteristics of the individual in determing the effect of environmental encounters. Using a Matlab simulation the model was able to utilise local statistical data to model well-being across the estate, with repeatable results. Accordingly it was possible to consider the impacts of different populations or environmental change in respect of well-being. The project introduced a step change in thinking about well-being and how it is supported feeding into a range of further initiatives. The project inclded collaboration with the Castle Vale Environmental Trust. Following the project completion the results were used to develop a major conference to explore the multi-dimensions of well-being (Wellbeing 2011) and feed into follow on initiatives.
Exploitation Route Use of the model in exploring the well-being implications of

development, linkages to landscape practices and local authority.

Other links to public health, understanding user behaviour, design and management of the built environment. General Medical Practice, eg well-being walks, self narrated walking.



Application of the research techniques, informing Art based practice to target well-being. Wide scope for developing interventions which can be used by local communities to enquire about the factors that relate to their well-being.



Two such public engagement projects have been developed embracing multiple sectors including planning, environment, business, health, environment, biodiversity.



Work with the National Memorial Arboretum specifically addresses a wider public sector targetting aspects of memory and remembering as part of NMA identity.



Work with the newly formed Birmingham Local Nature Partnership sees the application of well-being as part of the LNP remit with various non academic sectors targetted through events/workshops. This project gave rise to a major international conference, Well-being 2011, exploring the multimensions of well-being, developed and hosted by BCU. This has had the result of developing partnerships. Working with the Castle Vale Environmental Trust, Birmingham City Council and design and planning practices to apply and develop the findings.



The project has been linked to Urban Futures (EPSRC SUE 2) to consider well-being futures with a partnership with David Jarvis Associates to consider the implications of the computer model and to develop a further funding application and in the formulation of new settlement design proposals which utilises the parameters identified.



Links to the work of Millman (AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award) to provide new insights into understanding well-being which formed the basis of an AHRC award, Urban Flows, funded under the Connected Communities call.



Facilitated mechanisms for interpreting work regarding the well-being of the local Somali community in Birmingham (UK)



Collaboration with architectural practices in the region have led to knowledge exchange and work with the National Memorial Arboretum funded by the AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund and AHRC Knowledge Exchange in Design (KED)



A separate strand examined the impact of walking with nature on well-being with the Birmgham and Black Country Local Nature Partnership.



Three PhD studentships have developed from the research themes examining specific activities linked to walking and activities in the natural environment. These have been funded internally and by the Portugeuse Fund for Science and Technology widening the approaches to include eye tracking techniques.



The work has been integrated into teaching programmes and the methodologies used to support research methods teaching including courses in Landscape Architecture and Architecture, PG Certification in Research Practice.



A second well-being conference is planned for 24th 25th July 2013, 'Designs on Well-being'.



Work has informed two general publications due out in 2013 to be published by Blackwell and Routledge respectively which examine the different dimensions of well-being in relation to landscape and the environment

Follow on PhD research projects examining factors attributing to positive interaction with the landscape and with young children.

Creative visualisation to sup[port the wellbeing of children in clinical situations
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Education,Environment,Healthcare,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism

 
Description Development of non clinical perspectives on wellbeing. Outputs have developed theoretical perspectives concerning the negotiation of wellbeing through environmental engagement. Working with Birmingham and Black Country Local Nature Partnership. Pocket Parks Project
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy,Environment,Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Other
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Birmingham City University
Amount £15,000 (GBP)
Funding ID HEIF 
Organisation Birmingham City University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2013 
End 08/2014
 
Description Birmingham City University
Amount £79,740 (GBP)
Organisation Birmingham City University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2010 
End 10/2013
 
Description Birmingham City University
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation Birmingham City University 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2011 
End 08/2011
 
Description Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2011 
End 12/2011
 
Description Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Funding ID Qureshi 
Organisation Charles Wallace Pakistan Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Higher Education Initiaves Fund
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Organisation Higher Education Funding Council for England 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2011 
End 07/2011
 
Description Higher Education Initiaves Fund
Amount £25,000 (GBP)
Organisation Higher Education Funding Council for England 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2011 
End 08/2011
 
Description More Than Human, In Conversations With
Amount £32,000 (GBP)
Funding ID AH/K006517/1 
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2013 
End 01/2014
 
Description Urban Flows
Amount £39,000 (GBP)
Organisation Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2012 
End 07/2012
 
Description Well-being, Sustainable Futures
Amount £200,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Leverhulme Trust 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2012 
End 09/2013
 
Description Birmingham Black Country Local Nature Partnership 
Organisation The Wildlife Trusts
Department Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Elected Vice Chair of the Birmingham Black Country LNP, promote naturein the context of health and well-being, host 'discovery days' and other aspects relation to the natural world/biodiversity. Progression of well-being agenda through workshops events and linking to the LNP board.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Modelling Well-being in Relation to Re-development Proposals 
Organisation David Jarvis Associates
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaboration with David Jarvis Associates to explore the application of a model for predicting well-being in relation to planning proposals and the re-design of urban locations. Included was a demonstration of the model and dialogue on its potential use. Exploring the scope and application for modelling well-being, including its use in considering the impact of planned environmental change on the well-being of communities.
Start Year 2010
 
Title Modelling well-being Interaction Through Environmental Interaction 
Description A Matlab simulation which modelled well-being levels when walking through local environments 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2011 
 
Description Cultural Engagement, National Memorial Arboretum 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Applied approaches developed through research to reinforce aspects of personal wellbeing, working with partners from the National Memorial
Arboretum anf FIRA landscape Architects.

Well received by the public and Arboretum staff. Feedback obtained.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Development of teaching material 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Talk provided context for design activities

Development of design projects that were informed by the exchange of information
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012,2013
 
Description Health and Wellbeing Day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Workshop stimulated debate, follow on session facilitated engagement between participants.

Initial event followed by a second workshop due to its success
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013,2014
 
Description Inside Out Project, Wye Valley AONB 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Member of steering group, to help guide development of the project

Project developed to widen its reach
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011,2012,2013,2014
 
Description Knowledge Exchange in Design 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Knowledge exchange activity to stimulate new approaches, developed into a workshop

Developed into workshop
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Meeting with Birmingham City Council Public Health 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Knowledge exchange, compare approaches to supporting wellbeing in relation to public health

Initiated dialogue and route for collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description PhD training in research methods 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Engagement in research activity involving partners in the Wye Valley AONB

Highly positive response from all students, request to repeat the activity
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Research methods training 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Stimulated debate regarding approaches to research and career development

Follow on group visit to engage in research project, Wye Valley
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013