Habitats for Happy Ageing

Is there such a thing as a ‘habitat for happy ageing’?  In spring 2015, the Mobility, Mood and Place team held a photography competition, and a series of events, to find out…




What type of place makes you happy? Is it your house, your garden, your local park? Is it indoors or outdoors? Do you go there every day? Or is it a place from your childhood?

This was the brief we set entrants of our photography competition to capture images of places which make people happy, especially in later life.

We received 27 entries and were delighted by the standard across the board.

The judges met on Wednesday 1st April 2015 to review all the images and choose the winners.

See the winning entries and read the Head Judge’s comments


14:30 – 16:00, Friday 20th March 2015
Reid Concert Hall, Bristo Square, Edinburgh EH8 9AG

Students involved in our co-design research

This free celebration of the UN International Day of Happiness combined bite-sized talks by experts in happiness and place, Dr Val Bissland and Dr Neil Thin, with snapshots of our current research studies.

We exhibited a range of visual material, including models, maps of Edinburgh over time, and captioned images from our photography competition.

Guests had the chance to talk to the students involved in our co-design research, to try on the EEG headset used in our Environment and affect study (and see how it articulates brainwaves on a computer) and to take a short, paper-based mood test.

The ‘science festival’ format worked well with our audience, of which most were aged 65 or over, and we received useful feedback, including on the sorts of positive ways in which people might use what they had heard us talk about or discussed with us.

General view of a project event

VIDEO > Habitats for Happy Ageing

Highlights from our free event at the University of Edinburgh celebrating the UN International Day of Happiness 2015. Hosted by vimeo. Duration: 02 mins 31 secs


14:00 – 15:00, Wednesday 8th April 2015
Evolution House, 78 West Port, Edinburgh EH1 2LE

Demonstration of a neuro headset

This second event, also free, was held as part of the official Edinburgh International Science Festival (EISF) 2015 programme.

It followed the same interactive format as the Happiness Day event, with our experts this time being Professor Catharine Ward Thompson and Professor Jamie Pearce.

Again, the ‘festival’ format worked well with our audience, around half of whom were aged 65 or over; many had attended, or were planning to attend, other EISF events too.

Everyone who completed evaluation forms said they found the event “enjoyable”, and we again received good, qualitative feedback on the sorts of things that they might do with our research.


Habitats for Happy Ageing was organised by the OPENspace research centre at the University of Edinburgh, with the support of Age Scotland, Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS), and the City of Edinburgh Council through A City for All Ages.

The programme was generously supported by a Knowledge Exchange and Impact Grant from the College of Humanities and Social Science (CHSS) at the University of Edinburgh.