OPENspace Research Seminar Series

To support our postgraduate students in developing their presentation skills, and to share innovative work with peers and colleagues across the University of Edinburgh and beyond, we have established the OPENspace research seminar series.

Seminars take place about once a month, on selected Tuesday lunchtimes, during semester time. Speakers range from our own postgraduate students, to peers and early career researchers from other Schools and Universities, and visiting researchers.


OPENspace seminar series line-up

Tuesday 14th March 2023, 13:00-14:00

ECA Boardroom, L.05 (North East Building, Edinburgh College of Art)

Speaker: Dr Stephen Malden, a Research Fellow based within the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP), University of Edinburgh. Stephen has been based at the University in a research capacity for seven years, and has mainly conducted health services research, systematic reviews/meta-analyses, and the evaluation of community-based behavioural interventions. Stephen joined the GroundsWell consortium in March 2022 as a member of work-package three,  and will be working with communities to co-design and evaluate small-scale interventions. 

Seminar Title: The GroundsWell Consortium: Transforming Urban Green and Blue Space for Population Health

Exposures to urban green and blue spaces have the potential to positively influence health and wellbeing, particularly in the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). However, maximising the benefits of such exposures requires that access to such spaces is maximised across society. The GroundsWell consortium aims to use community-engaged and data-informed systems transformation of urban green and blue space for the benefit of population health. The consortium consists of seven interlinked work packages, each working towards the collective long-term aim of reducing NCDs through the appropriate utilisation of urban green and blue space. The consortium will consider impacts at both population and individual level, and use approaches such as co-design and citizen science to increase the sustainability of any interventions that are developed within GroundsWell. This seminar will provide an overview of the GroundWell Consortium, including a summary of the work to be carried out within each of the work packages across the five-year study period. 

Please register for your free ticket at:

Friday 24th February 2023, 13:00-14:00

Forresthill, Room FH_3.D02

Speaker: Dr Paul Jepson, Head of Innovation at CreditNature Ltd, a nature fintech company developing analytics and nature impact tokens to ‘unlock’ investment in rewilding and nature recovery.

Paul formerly directed the MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management at Oxford University and held senior research fellowships with the Said Business School and Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment. Paul started his career working on urban nature recovery projects in Manchester and Shrewsbury. He is a leading thinker in the European rewilding movement and author of ‘Rewilding: the radical new science of ecological recovery’.

Seminar Title: Urban Rewilding: new vision or repacking of the old?

The term rewilding has entered the mainstream and is influencing thinking on urban green space management. In this seminar we will position rewilding in relation to approaches to urban nature and biodiversity protection that emerged during the 1980s and discuss whether rewilding offers an opportunity for radical innovation in the design and management of urban green spaces and civic responses to the climate and nature emergencies.

Rewilding has rapidly entered the mainstream of scientific, policy and popular discourse. It signifies a more hopeful environmental narrative and in Scotland is associated with new regenerative visions for the Scottish landscape and land economy. The notion of ‘urban rewilding’ is gaining traction but different groups assign different meaning to the term which can lead to confusion and concern and deaden the transformative potential of the underlying science and practice.

In this seminar, Dr Jepson will introduce a set of rewilding principles developed by European rewilding practitioners and an IUCN task force and contrast these with the approaches and achievements of the 1980’s urban conservation movement. This protected and restored nature in many cities as a civic asset and became normalised in planning as part of UK’s commitments under the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity.

Dr Jepson will then propose that rewilding signifies the emergence of ‘innovation spaces’ where progressive professional from different walks of life come together to ‘shake up the present to shape a better future’ for people and nature. With this thought in mind, Dr Jepson will outline the beginnings of a vision for urban rewilding with a focus on radical demonstration projects that inspire and inform regenerative agendas and (re) connect nature with urban culture, enterprise, life and identity.

Please register for your free ticket at:

Tuesday 6th December 2022, 13:00-14:00

ECA Boardroom, L.05 (North East Building, Edinburgh College of Art)

Speaker: Prof Ruth Jepson, Director of the Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy (SCPHRP) and Co-Director of GroundsWell, a UKPRP funded consortium, which aims to drive community innovation applying systems science that maximise the contribution of Urban Green and Blue Space to the primary prevention of, and reduction of inequalities in, non-communicable diseases (NCD) in urban settings. 

Seminar Title: A framework for co-creating sustainable and effective community projects

Services and projects such as those to increase accessibility to green and blue spaces often do not fully consider the underlying causes of a problem, the mechanisms of change and how to maximise sustainability and effectiveness. They often rely on ‘intuition’, expert knowledge and research from other areas. Whilst this approach may result in success, much time and effort may also be spent on services that are not effective, or cannot maintain funding beyond the initial period.

Improving the effectiveness and sustainability of such services relies as much on their design and feasibility as on their evaluation. Yet, compared to the vast literature on how to evaluate interventions, there is little to guide researchers or practitioners on how best to develop such interventions in practical, logical, evidence based ways to maximise likely effectiveness.   

This seminar presents a pragmatic guide to six essential Steps for Quality Intervention Development (6SQuID). The focus is on public health interventions but the model should have wider applicability. Once a problem has been identified as needing intervention, the process of designing an intervention can be broken down into six crucial steps:  

  • defining and understanding the problem and its causes;  
  • identifying which causal or contextual factors are modifiable: which have the greatest scope for change and who would benefit most;  
  • deciding on the mechanisms of change;  
  • clarifying how these will be delivered;  
  • testing and adapting the intervention; and  
  • collecting sufficient evidence of effectiveness to proceed to a rigorous evaluation. If each of these steps is carefully addressed, better use will be made of scarce public resources by avoiding the costly evaluation, or implementation, of unpromising interventions. 

All these steps need to be undertaken with communities and engaging with partners and actors who can make decisions around issues such as funding. 

The six steps will be used to describe how we can better develop and evaluate interventions to improve our green and blue spaces.  

Please find the seminar recording and presentation slides below.


Tuesday 8th November 2022

Speaker: Leyla Deniz Kiraz, ECA PhD Candidate, Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Leyla is a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh, researching on developing a model to predict the effect of urban parks on the wellbeing of users. Her PhD research examines the landscape qualities of urban parks, characteristics of urban park users, prediction of people’s behaviours and their interaction with landscape qualities in urban parks, and the effect of landscape qualities of urban parks on the moods of users. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the Middle East Technical University and her Master’s degree in Digital Integrated Design at the University of Liverpool. Her research area includes landscape and wellbeing, human behaviour modelling, digital integrated design, and parametric design.

Seminar Title: Understanding Use of Parks and User Characteristics: Behaviour Observation and Mapping in Edinburgh’s Urban Parks

Behaviour observation and mapping is a systematic method used to understand the use of an area. It provides insight into user characteristics and activities performed in that area. Behaviour observation and mapping can be utilised to understand the use of parks and the characteristics of park users, which can provide information for new park projects and upgrades of existing parks. Moreover, it can be used to understand the change in the use of parks over time or as a result of the amendments in parks. In this talk, Leyla will explain the behaviour observation and mapping study she carried out as a part of her PhD research and present the changes observed in the use of parks and user characteristics in Edinburgh’s parks before and during COVID-19. Leyla will also explain the behaviour observation and mapping study in Edinburgh’s parks carried out with volunteers as a part of the Thriving Green Spaces project and share an overview of the study results.


Tuesday 5th April 2022

Speaker: Sara Tilley & Caroline Pearce,  ECA Research Fellow & Research Associate, Architecture and Landscape Architecture  

Sara is an OPENspace Research Fellow based at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh. She joined the OPENspace team in January 2014, primarily to work on Mobility, Mood and Place (MMP) and Woods In and Around Towns.

Caroline Pearce is an OPENspace Research Fellow based at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh. She joined the OPENspace team in April 2021 to work on Personal Projects within the Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC).

Seminar Title: Understanding how the outdoor environment enables older adults to flourish: A focus on ethical and recruitment challenges when undertaking research with older people during the COVID-19 pandemic

How is it possible to undertake meaningful and ethical research with older adults in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic? Join us to reflect on and share experiences of adapting methods and research processes when researching older people’s experiences of outdoor environments.

In this seminar, we will present ongoing research that is exploring how the physical environment supports older adults to carry out the personal projects that make life enjoyable, and is part of the Advanced Care Research Centre programme ( Personal projects is a concept developed by Brian Little, and describes the self-generated and purpose-oriented activities an individual is doing or planning to do.

Working across four sites in Scotland, this study aims to provide a detailed understanding of the types and qualities of environment that really make a difference to older people’s quality of life – their meaningful engagement with projects they wish to pursue in order to flourish – within a holistic context of what personal projects matter in their lives as a whole. Embarking on a research project during the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the ethical challenges involved in undertaking research with older people. We reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities we have experienced adapting to hybrid methods while ensuring that we accommodate the needs of the individuals and communities we are working with.

Tuesday 22nd March 2022

Speaker: Charlotte Wendelboe-Nelson,  ECA Research Associate, Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Charlotte’s work revolves around the developing concept of the ‘exposome’. This means exploring the totality of complex exposures we face as humans such as green space, exercise, air pollution, social interaction and deprivation and their combined impacts on human health and wellbeing.

To investigate these complex patterns and interactions, she applies a holistic approach, interdisciplinary research and participatory research, and uses mixed methods to demonstrate how combinations of exposures relate to health, the impact on different communities and the steps that can be taken to prevent poor health and wellbeing.

The exposome concept was initiated within the branch of epidemiological science, and encompasses ‘the totality of human environmental exposures from conception onwards, complementing the genome’. The exposome concept aims to provide a description of lifelong exposure history, and was developed to highlight the need for more comprehensive environmental exposure data.

Seminar Title: Characterising the Exposome: A holistic approach to help understand the impact of the environment on health

In this talk, Charlotte will cover how epidemiology and exposure science underpin the concept of the exposome, why exposomic research is necessary to investigate the non-genetic burden of disease, and the importance of understanding how cumulative exposures across a lifetime relate to health. I will show how exposomic research can be used to better understand the effects of green space (GS) and associated co-exposures, on health and wellbeing. Key findings from a scoping review on GS and mental health will be used to demonstrate the need for further research investigating the GS exposome, and I will use examples from a feasibility study to show possible methods for investigating the GS exposome.

Tuesday 8th March 2022

Speaker: Weijing Wang,  PhD student with ESALA, Edinburgh College of Art

Weijing is a PhD student interested in the landscape perception, big data, spatio-temporal social practice, human-environment interaction in the age of social media. Her current DPhil research focuses on landscape preference, digital visual culture and visual methodologies. Weijing’s thesis examines 1) The representation of digital images and the practice of how people produce and share them. 2) The relationship between changing urbanisation and sightseeing practice of local people and tourists in contemporary Chinese cities 3) The role of photo-taking and photo-sharing behaviour in understanding landscape preference through using visual methodologies. The over-arching aim is to explore the richness user-generated materials from social media and the visual methodologies in examining landscape perception. Weijing’s current research utilise a wide range of methods, from large scale digital data analytics to in-situ semi-structure interviews.

Seminar Title: Gaze through social media: spatio-temporal activities of photo-taking and photo-sharing in the city

The burgeoning digital images from social media are saturated in people’s everyday life, for instance, a great many of apps on the smart phone are involved with images, such as Facebook, Instagram and Flickr. These user-generated data are commonly utilised in detecting content to explore people’s general perception of study areas, often neglecting the behaviour of photo-taking and photo-sharing from the perspective of landscape perception. Two studies are conducted to examine the “prospect – refuge” theory and further explore more about space of vision and observation.

Tuesday 30th November 2021

Speaker: Dr Scott Ogletree, Research Fellow at the OPENspace Research Centre

He works to understand how urban woodlands impact mental health and child development using secondary datasets. He is interested in how natural environments influence society and uses computational tools to explore these relationships. Scott completed his PhD at Clemson University, USA and followed that with a Postdoctoral position at North Carolina State University, USA working with Dr. Myron Floyd and Dr. Aaron Hipp. He also completed a Masters in Landscape Architecture at Clemson University and a Bachelors in Recreation Resource Management from the University of Georgia, USA. He has research experience in conservation planning, physical activity, and quantitative methods.

Seminar Title: Quantity and Quality in Greenspace Studies

Greenspaces, parks, and open spaces are important components of cities and have received renewed interest during life under the coronavirus pandemic. A growing body of research links these spaces to many benefits – from reduced stress to better wellbeing to increased physical activity. Our ways of measuring and evaluating greenspaces involve many tools to assess quantity and quality. In this talk I will cover how current research learns about greenspace to better understand the quantities and qualities of these landscape features. Examples of projects will illustrate some of these methods. While quantification is a common and useful outcome, it is the quality and design of greenspaces that play a vital role in connecting people to place.

For those of you who are interested, the Powerpoint presentation prepared by Dr Ogletree can be found here.


Thursday 25th February 2021

Speaker: Dr Ryan Woolrych, Associate Professor in Urban Studies – Heriot Watt University

His research interests include: healthy and active ageing, ageing in place, and age-friendly cities and communities. Ryan has significant expertise of working on funded research in the UK and internationally, exploring the experiences of ageing in urban environments, applying qualitative, visual and participatory methodologies to understanding the relationship between people and place. Ryan is  currently P-I on two ESRC funded international research projects (working across the UK, India and Brazil) (‘Place-Making with Older People: Towards Age Friendly Communities’ and ‘Ageing Well in Urban Environments: Developing Age Friendly Cities and Communities’) collaborating with academic institutions, local government, community groups, residents and practitioners around the design of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. 

Seminar Title: ‘You Really Do Become Invisible’: Exploring Older Adults Rights to the City

A global ageing population presents opportunities and challenges to designing urban environments that support ageing in place. The World Health Organisation’s Global Age-Friendly Cities movement has identified the need to develop communities that optimise health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. Ensuring that age-friendly urban environments create the conditions for active ageing requires cities and communities to support older adults’ rights to access and move around the city (‘appropriation’) and for them to be actively involved in the transformation (‘making and remaking’) of the city. This raised important questions: what are older adults’ everyday experiences in exercising their rights to the city? what are the challenges and opportunities in supporting a rights to the city approach? how can the delivery of age-friendly cities support rights to the city for older people? This paper examines these questions through presenting the lived experiences of older adults across three cities and nine neighbourhoods in the UK collected through an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded three year project.

Thursday 11th March 2021

Speaker: Rolf Roscher, Director – erz studio

Rolf Roscher, is an award winning landscape architect and urban designer with twenty five years of professional experience. Rolf co-founded the highly regarded landscape architecture practice erz in 2007.

erz have designed and delivered innovative, award-winning and successful projects across the UK, including civic spaces, parks and environments for health and wellbeing, education, play, housing and community.

Rolf’s recently completed projects include the new Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow (winner of the Excellence in Landscape Design category at the 2020 Landscape Institute Awards), public realm works on the waterfront at Dunoon and the first phase of the redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital campus.


Rolf Roscher, director of Glasgow based Landscape Architects erz, will discuss the practice’s health and care projects. Over the past 14 years erz have designed and overseen delivery of a wide range of innovative health and care projects. These include masterplans and strategies for existing hospital campuses and new facilities focused on mental health, physical health and end of life care. Projects discussed will include the new Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow (winner of the Excellence in Landscape Design category at the 2020 Landscape Institute Awards) and the first phase of the redevelopment of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital campus.

Thursday 25th March 2021

Speaker: Dr Anne Templeton, Lecturer in Social Psychology – University of Edinburgh

Anne’s over-arching research interest is applying the social identity approach to intra and intergroup processes. Her research primarily focusses on crowd psychology and using the social identity approach to improve crowd safety in emergencies and at mass events. Anne do this through exploring a) the role of social identities on feelings of safety, empowerment, and well-being, b) processes underlying communication between crowd members and safety personnel, and c) advising on incorporating the role of social identities into pedestrian models of collective movement. Anne has advised on crowd safety for the Hajj, PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Rail Safety and Standards Boards, Local Authority Building Control, and the UK Home Office and UK Ministry of Defence.

Seminar Title: Physical crowds and psychological crowds: Incorporating group behaviour into crowd models

Models are used to simulate pedestrian behaviour for safety at mass events, yet these models often neglect the psychological factors influencing collective behaviour. Over two studies, we explored the role of group identification on pedestrian movement, both in unidirectional and bidirectional flow. Results suggest that group members will collectively self-organise their speed and distance walked in order to maintain close proximity and avoid outgroup members. Based on these studies, I make suggestions for including group behaviour in pedestrian models and broader implications for safety planning.

Thursday 29th April 2021

Speaker: Dr Mathew White, Senior Scientist (Environmental Psychology) – Vienna Cognitive Science Hub, University of Vienna

Mat White is an Environmental Psychologist at the University of Vienna who is especially interested in the relationship between different urban and natural environments and mental health. He is in awe of Landscape Architects who actually design settings to improve people’s health and well-being and would love to work more with them to help produce evidence-based designs that reduce inequalities in mental health in particular.

Seminar Title: Blue landscapes, health and well-being

Abstract: Research into the potential health and well-being benefits from exposure to green spaces such as parks and woodlands has led to the development of several frameworks linking the different strands of evidence. The current talk builds on these to provide a model of how exposure to aquatic environments, or blue spaces such as rivers, lakes and the coast, in particular, may benefit health and well-being. Although green and blue spaces share many commonalities, there are also important differences. Novel aspects of our framework include the inclusion of outcomes that are only indirectly good for health through being good for the environment, the addition of nature connectedness as both a trait and state, and feedback loops where actions/interventions to increase exposure to blue landscapes are implemented. Limitations of the framework and areas for future work, including the need to integrate potential benefits with potential risks, will be discussed.

Click the link below to find out more

Thursday 27th  May 2021
1:00 – 2:00pm

Speaker: Dr Victoria Lee, Lecturer in Architecture and Environment – ESALA

Victoria’s research focuses on understanding the interrelationships between the indoor environmental conditions and the occupants’ comfort and wellbeing, with a special interest in occupant behaviours. She currently teaches technology and environment in ESALA.

Seminar Title: At the Window: how we ‘use’ it and what bugs us

Our relationship with the window, as an architectural feature or building element, is manifold. During the pandemic lockdowns, windows were both the metaphorical and literal connection to the outside world for many. From a technical perspective, windows also provide one of the most fundamental ways of ventilating the indoor environment, now a key parameter to ensure safe return to our workplaces. I will discuss some preliminary findings from a questionnaire survey on windows in people’s homes conducted in Scotland at the end of the first lockdown.  


Semester 2

Monday 2nd March 2020
12:30 – 2:00pm
ECA Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Francisca Lima, a landscape designer and a lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art, where she currently teaches history and theory of landscape architecture. In 2016, she obtained her PhD from ESALA – University of Edinburgh – which focused on the impacts of urban depopulation, with a full scholarship from the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation. Before her doctoral project, Francisca had been collaborating with several Portuguese landscape design offices, as well as with the Philosophy Centre and LEAF Research Centre, University of Lisbon. In 2005, Francisca completed her degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of Lisbon, developing a final dissertation on ‘Landscape Aesthetics’.

Seminar Title: Geometry of Infinity

Since 1975, the mathematical theories of fractal geometry have been deeply influential in the fields of landscape perception, mathematics, and technology. However, the relationship between landscape design and fractal geometries has been seldomly explored. This presentation focuses on the four-fold garden design model, – the Charbagh, so typical of Islamic garden design – as a geometry that can convey a seminal idea of fractal infinity, potentially explored both metaphysically and mathematically.

Semester 1

Monday 7th October 2019
1:00 – 2:30pm
Minto House – Geddes Meeting Room 3.61

Speaker: Dr Simon Bell, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Associate Director, OPENspace Research Centre.

Simon is interested in aspects of the wider landscape, such as forests, rural and wild landscapes as well as the peri-urban zone. This includes planning and design aspects, forest landscape aesthetics, urban forestry, outdoor recreation and the health benefits of exposure to nature in such areas.

Seminar Title:  Blue Health project update

Blue Health is a pan-European research initiative investigating the links between environment, climate and health. It is funded by the EU’s Horizon2020  ( The project is now in its third year and Simon will discuss the projects recent progress and early findings.

Tuesday 12th November 2019
1:00 – 2:00pm
ECA Fire Station – Seminar Room B

Speaker: Dr Sara Tilley is a Research Fellow at the OPENspace research centre at Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA). 

Her research focuses on transport and mobility in urban settings. In particular, Sara is interested in exploring the links between mobility in the urban environment and health and wellbeing.

Seminar Title: Making Connections: the experience of disabled and Deaf people making journeys

Many journeys rely on us changing from one mode of transport to another, navigating the spaces between services, where one ‘stops’ and another ‘starts’.  But even short transfers have potential barriers – crossing a busy street, poor lighting, difficulty finding a place to sit down and rest.

‘Making Connections’ is a project that brought disabled people together with transport operator staff and other professionals to experience and assess journey connections between rail and ferry services. It involved working with disabled people to describe and record the real challenges of making connections and work with transport providers to develop improvements to make travel easier for everyone. Sara will present an overview of the project process and key findings along the way.


Semester 2

Monday 21st January 2019
12.30 – 2pm
ECA Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Ziwen Sun,PhD student, ESALA, Edinburgh College of Art

Seminar Title: Everyday use of urban street spaces: the spatio-temporal variations between pedestrians and street vendors

Ziwen’s PhD project focuses on “walkability/walking, transient space and the smaller Chinese cities”. In the light of his interests of understanding how cities and place are experienced and re-used by the public, he teaches students to re-think the existing static spatial terms into a series of urban transition, power relation, itinerant everyday activity, and moveable apparatus etc.  He has received various awards in research and practice. Recently, his research workshop has been approved as one of the MOHURD-endorsed Programmes in China.

Monday 11th February 2019
12.30 – 2pm
Institute of Geography (Old Infirmary) – Rm 2.01

Speaker: Anne Cleary, Research Fellow, School of Medicine, Griffith University (currently visiting Rutherford Fellow at Brunel University London)

Seminar Title: Nature and wellbeing – the case for connecting urban residents with local nature

There is now a well-established evidence base showing the positive associations between nature contact and a range of health and wellbeing benefits. With the majority of earth’s residents living in urban environments, opportunities to experience and connect with nature can be scarce.  This presentation will provide an overview of what we know about the links between urban nature, nature connection and health and wellbeing. International case studies will then be used to highlight practical approaches to applying the evidence base and optimising the wellbeing promoting potential of urban nature.

Anne is a research fellow with Griffith University’s School of Medicine in Brisbane, Australia and is currently completing a Rutherford Fellowship based at Brunel University London. Anne’s research interests are in urban nature and health and wellbeing and she has worked with the World Health Organisation’s European Centre for Environment and Health producing several documents on urban green space interventions.

Please click here to listen to Anne’s talk.

Monday 25th February 2019
12.30 – 2pm
ECA Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Hazreena Hussein, Graduate, Edinburgh College of Art and Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur

Seminar Title: The development and promotion of Therapeutic Sensory Stimulation Garden in Malaysia

Hazreena’s research interests focus on Environment-Behaviour interactions and Multisensory environments. She will give a personal insight into the 12 years (and counting) she spent working on the design and use of sensory gardens. The success and failures of these gardens learned, whilst sharing its effort in providing such garden in Malaysia.

Wednesday 6th March 2019
12 – 1pm
Room B1.11-1 Outreach Centre, 9C Holyrood Road

Speakers:Dr. Jonatan Almagor & Dr. Stefano Picascia

Seminar Title: Let’s put people in place: Using agent-based models to investigate the impact of neighbourhood settings on visits to green spaces and physical activity

This seminar is organised by the Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH), OPENspace and the Physical Activity for Health Research Centre (PAHRC) and everyone is warmly invited to attend. For more information please go to:

Monday 18th March 2019
12.30 – 2pm
ECA Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Mark Cherrie, is a researcher in Health and Environment, Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health (CRESH), School of Geosciences.

Seminar Title: “Quantifying exposure to the natural environment across the life course:  implications for health inequalities”

It is essential to take a life course approach to understand the determinants of health in later life. A life course approach aims to quantify physical or social exposures during gestation, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and later life. This talk will explore the methods that are used to collect information on everyday (e.g. smartphone GPS) to lifetime movement (e.g. life-grid), and how these can be used to quantify exposure to the natural environment. The talk will conclude with a discussion on how promoting greater interaction with the natural environment can be effective for reducing health inequalities.

Please click here for a copy of the presentation and click here to watch the dancehalls video.

Monday 1st April 2019
12.30 – 2pm
ECA Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Agnès Patuano, Teaching Assistant – MSc Landscape & Wellbeing; Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

Seminar Title: “Understanding landscape preference using fractal geometry”

This seminar is a discussion of the results obtained during the second part of Agnès’ PhD study, which generally explored the use of fractal characteristics of landscape photographs as predictors of landscape preference. This section focuses on collecting preference ratings through an online survey disseminated in France and the UK. It was found that different groups of participants reacted differently to the fractal dimensions, and that some of those groups were significantly influenced by those characteristics while others were not. Interestingly, the aspect of our preference judgement most correlated with the values of fractal dimensions was our “interest” preference, measuring participants’ desire to explore the depicted scenes. This challenges the underlying status quo on the aesthetic value of fractal patterns as well as shining a new light on the landscape characteristics most likely to elicit positive preference.

Monday 29th April 2019
12.30 – 2pm
ECA Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Jung-Hwa Kim, is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh and is a Visiting Researcher at the Environmental Planning Institute of Seoul National University.

Seminar Title:  Reinventing the Theatrum Botanicum: The New Display of Nature in Contemporary Botanical Gardens

Her project aims to explore a phenomenon in contemporary landscape architecture, the reinvention of botanical gardens, by placing it in an extended timeframe to show botanical gardens as the theatre of plants, an emblem of the human relationship with nature. She will review recent master-plan projects of botanical gardens in the UK such as the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Monday 6th May 2019
12.30 – 2pm
Old Medical School, Teviot – 1.434 Teaching Room 7 – Doorway 3
*Please note change from usual venue*

Speaker: Dr Simon Bell, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Associate Director, OPENspace Research Centre.

Simon is interested in aspects of the wider landscape, such as forests, rural and wild landscapes as well as the peri-urban zone. This includes planning and design aspects, forest landscape aesthetics, urban forestry, outdoor recreation and the health benefits of exposure to nature in such areas.

Seminar Title:  Blue Health project update

Blue Health is a pan-European research initiative investigating the links between environment, climate and health. It is funded by the EU’s Horizon2020  ( The project is now in its third year and Simon will discuss the projects recent progress and early findings.

Semester 1

Monday 24th September 2018
12.30 – 2pm
ECA Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Rebecca Crowther, recently gained her PhD from Edinburgh College of Art in the remit of ‘nature,’ wellbeing, personal transformation and group dynamics. Her work is transdisciplinary, ethnographic and based in Scotland.

Seminar Title: Journeys to the Ideal Self: Personal Transformation through Group Encounters in Rural Scotland

Plus new research: Literal and metaphorical darkness in natural landscapes. Mental health in dark landscapes

Monday 29th October 2018
12.30 – 2pm
ECA Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Natalie Reguis,PhD student, The Urban Institute, School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS), Heriot Watt University

Seminar Title: The impact of nature on work-related stress

Natalie’s research interests focus on healthy buildings and how the built environment impacts people’s health (physical, psychological and social).  Nature has been shown to help work-related stress. But how can nature be efficiently incorporated inside and will it have the same positive impact?

Monday 19th November 2018
12.30 – 2pm
ECA Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Jennifer Noallis completing her PhD with the School of Geosciences. She has been working with OPENspace as part of a Forestry Commission Scotland project for Woods in and Around Towns.

Seminar Title: Forests, health and inequalities in Scotland: a longitudinal approach

Monday 3rd December 2018
12.30 – 2pm
ECA Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Penny Travlou, Lecturer in Cultural Geography and Theory in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) and a Research Fellow in OPENspace.

Penny’s research is interdisciplinary, focusing on theories of space and place, the politics of public space, digital culture, distributed networks, ‘the Commons’ and ethnography.

Seminar Title: From Public Space to the Commons: Defining Intangible Cultural Landscapes


Semester 2

Monday 22nd January 2018
12.30 – 2pm
Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Agnès Patuano, Teaching Assistant – MSc Landscape & Wellbeing,
Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape, University of Edinburgh

Seminar title: Quantifying the Naturalness and Complexity of Landscape Photographs using their Fractal Dimensions.

> View and download Agnès’ presentation

Monday 26th March 2018
12.30 – 2pm
Room 2.13, Institute of Geography, Drummond Street, EH8 9XP

Speaker: Dr Sarah Bell, Research Fellow, European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School

Seminar Title: Weathering the body: nature, health and wellbeing in the context of life with sight impairment.

We are delighted to jointly host this seminar with the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh.

Monday 30th April 2018
12.30 – 2pm
Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Francisca Lima, Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Edinburgh

Seminar title: Outdoor Spaces for Shrinking Communities

Monday 7th May 2018
12.30 – 2pm
Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Simon Bell, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Seminar title: Blue Health Project

Monday 21st May 2018
12.30 – 2pm
Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Dr Amanda Nioi, Department of Human Health,
School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot-Watt University

Seminar title: Light, Design and Health: an introduction to the impacts of light on human health, methodologies in capturing data and developing design guidance.

Semester 1

Monday 20th November 2017
12.30 – 2pm
Evolution House Boardroom (Room 5.21), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Guillem Vich, PhD Student, Geography Department,
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Seminar title: Between proximity and remoteness: an exploration of the spatial extent of everyday life in a Metropolitan context.  Analysis of the effects of built environment on individual spatial behaviour using smartphone tracking data.

> View and download Guillem’s presentation

Monday 4th December 2017
12.30 – 2pm
Main Boardroom (Room L05), Edinburgh College of Art

Speaker: Yusef Samari, PhD Student, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh

Seminar Title: Improving biodiversity in urban green spaces – opportunities and challenges.