Our recent poll with Portland Communications, which reveals some of the inequalities in people’s living conditions that are being

Quality of Life Foundation’s research programme involves a combined series of reports that will together help to understand how people think about places and communities; learn what quality of life means to homeowners and tenants; and how they think it might be enhanced through improvements to the the way their homes and communities are created and cared for.

The research comprises three parts:

1. On-the-ground research led by consultants Social Life and Kaizen Partnership, in 12 neighbourhoods across the UK, in Brentford, Bridgend, North Birmingham, Cambridge, Corby, Darlington, Dorchester, Edinburgh, Hackney, North Manchester, Rotherham and South Belfast. The neighbourhoods studied range from urban to rural, small to large, new build and more established neighbourhoods and target both residents and those visiting the area to work, shop or socialise. Although this research is underway, it has now been paused temporarily, due to the introduction of social distancing measures in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

2. A series of in-depth interviews with photographs, also led by Social Life and Kaizen Partnership, exploring how people’s homes and communities improve or diminish their quality of life during this difficult period of time.

3. An online survey created with Resi, the online residential architects, to provide quantitative data that will examine how the resilience of a place affects the people who live there during lockdown.

Alongside the survey, a literature review by Publica, commissioned by the Quality of Life Foundation, has sought to identify key themes from the intersection of quality of life and the built environment (you can download a copy of the report here).

The findings from the research will inform the Quality of Life Foundation’s work in establishing a clear set of quality of life principles, which will then be championed by the Foundation, with the aim of making clear both the responsibilities and benefits of promoting quality of life within the built environment.

Ultimately, the Foundation aims to establish a framework and set of mechanisms that drives change across the development industry to ensure that homes and places are acquired, planned, constructed and managed to actively provide a better quality of life for everyone.

Nicola Bacon from Social Life said: “Our research, combining in-depth interviews and photographs, will help us capture rich information about how people experience their homes and their local areas during the lockdown. Inequalities of access to space, gardens and parks will have a sharp impact on quality of life. We want to find out how our very different experiences of the built environment and home at this time are affecting our mental wellbeing and how we make connections with other people.”

The Quality of Life Foundation, which has benefited from seed-funding from developer Berkeley Group, is calling for the built environment industry to demonstrate its commitment to improving people’s quality of life.