The Mobility, Mood and Place (MMP) research project has been exploring how places can be designed collaboratively to make pedestrian mobility easy, enjoyable and meaningful into oldest age.
Through a range of methods, including co-design, mobile neuroimaging and a life course approach, the project has engaged over 750 older people, including stroke survivors and people with dementia, opening up participatory research to a demographic which is often left out of consultative processes.
Our research shows that even a short walk can have a potentially beneficial effect on mood and brain activity if the environment is sufficiently varied. It also shows that such variety, and the personal and cultural memories attached to places, can influence where people choose to walk, as can the potential for social interaction.
Particularly through our life course and archival work, we have teased out the importance of access to greenspace from childhood into oldest age. Collectively, our findings have implications for the way we design for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities so that going outdoors in younger years becomes a lifelong passion for getting out and about.
Mobility, Mood and Place has been funded by the UK Research Councils’ Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW) programme and partnered by a network of stakeholder bodies. Bringing together experts from the Universities of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt, York and King’s College London, data collection and analysis ran from September 2013 to January 2017,
In February 2017, the project enters a new phase, in which findings and key messages will be shared with audiences in policy, practice, communities, and the not-for-profit sector to drive forward change in age-friendly approaches to place. These year-long activities are funded by an Impact Acceleration Award (IAA) from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
background image: co-creative design work by Masters of Architecture 2014 graduates, Stephanie Sharpe, Roseanne Knight and Jonathon Phillips.