We carry out to research build evidence on why and how we should make health and wellbeing central to the way we create and care for our homes and communities.

Here you will find the outputs from that work.

Your quality of life community report

Harlow and Gilston was designated as a garden town in January 2017. The coming together of five councils with a common purpose is part of a new chapter for Harlow and its surrounding areas. In total, 16,000 new homes will be delivered by 2033, with a further 7,000 planned for the Gilston area to be built from 2033 onwards.

We’ve worked with Harlow & Gilston Garden Town to map what local people value and need in their local area through a public digital consultation. The project focused on people’s quality of life in the town and surrounding areas and is part of ongoing efforts to ensure the health and wellbeing of current and future residents is protected and promoted to the highest standard. This report sets out our findings.

Inclusive Engagement Toolkit

The Inclusive Engagement Toolkit provides  practical advice on ensuring your community engagement is truly inclusive. It’s come out of our Community Consultation for Quality of Life (CCQOL) project, and shares vital learning from that project from across the UK.

With participation from the universities of Reading, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Ulster, we’ve developed this toolkit with Urban Symbiotics to help solve the problem: how to design and deliver a truly inclusive engagement process.

The toolkit is for anyone interested in undertaking or participating in an inclusive engagement process, including community groups, individuals and built environment professionals. It is also for companies or institutions that develop or shape new places, such as local authorities, resident associations, charities and developers. 

The  toolkit offers seven simple and easy to use steps for undertaking inclusive community engagement for planning.

Measuring Success: A social value roundtable

How do we know if we’ve created a successful place? How do we measure impact over time?

These are the questions we explored at our Measuring Success roundtable, in partnership with Landsec in June 2022.

We brought together experts across the built environment sector, financial institutions, local authorities, universities and community organisations to discuss:

  • People’s perceptions and definitions of social value
  • What different organisations are measuring when it comes to social value
  • How to integrate communities’ health, wellbeing and lived experiences

This report summarises the conversations, sharing key takeaways and recommendations for anyone looking to measure social value. It will feed into our work as we seek to improve benchmarking across the housing system, and as we work with others to develop a set of key performance indicators to support best practice.

Our Evidence Review highlights the scale of the housing crisis – and some green shoots

This Evidence Review looks at the effect of the built environment on people’s health and wellbeing since the pandemic. It highlights the extent of the housing crisis in the UK, as well as some of the social, environmental and financial benefits of taking an approach that focuses on people’s health and wellbeing.

This is part of an ongoing process of reviewing and refreshing the Quality of Life Framework so that it is a fit-for-purpose tool to improve our homes and neighbourhoods – and, in turn, our health and wellbeing – over the long term.

CCQOL – A new model for community consultation

Community Consultation for Quality of Life (CCQoL) is a major research project, funded by UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Board, to develop a new, map-based model of community consultation that takes place both online and face-to-face in community spaces, also known as urban rooms.

Why community consultation?

The purpose of community consultation is to give people a sense of influence and control over their environment, a key determinant of their overall quality of life. With CCQOL, we want to start a conversation about what local communities value and need in their local area, one which is:

  • rooted in their environment,
  • takes place both online and face-to-face,
  • and can continue over time.

Our hope is that the project facilitates greater inclusion across the community and provides a more accurate picture than the current, often perfunctory and episodic, consultation process. And we believe that it can go some way to joining up consultation activity around Local Development Planning; Planning Consultations; and the post-occupancy evaluation of places.  

COVID highlights digital divide between UK renters and home owners 

· New study from Quality of Life Foundation and CityFibre shows extent to which access to online connectivity impacts quality of life. 

· A total of 80% of people now say that day-to-day life would be impossible or significantly worse without online connectivity.

· Figures suggest a potential digital divide may be emerging as renters were nearly twice as likely to describe their connection as only average or unreliable compared to those who own their own home.

· Usage overall soared during the pandemic — half of us are now spending at least four hours using the internet each day, with over a quarter spending over six hours online.

Quality of life at home

This national report, written in collaboration with Social Life and Kaizen Partnership, explores how the built environment impacts on quality of life, and how the built environment can be improved to enhance quality of life in homes and in local neighbourhoods. The research engaged people living in a range of settings, including areas going through regeneration, new housing developments and established areas.

Using face-to-face street interviews, the first part of the research in early March 2020 explored how people perceive the built environment’s impact on their quality of life. Two weeks into the fieldwork, the COVID-19 crisis brought the research to a halt. A new research approach was devised to continue to capture the impact of the built environment on quality of life in this extraordinary time.

In the second phase of the research, the focus shifted towards examining the role played by the home environment as well as the local area in supporting or undermining quality of life during this difficult period. These interviews were carried out in May and early June 2020. At the start of this period the population of the UK was under tight restrictions and non-essential retail and facilities were closed, as the month progressed there were some slight relaxation of lockdown restrictions in the different UK nations.

Read the full report here

Young and renters lose out in lockdown

We conducted a poll during the Coronavirus lockdown to find out how different groups had been affected. We discovered that young people; people living in towns and cities; and renters were most dissatisfied with their living conditions at this time…

Read more about it here.

Literature Review

With the help of Publica, we reviewed studies, reports and policies that address the link between quality of life and the built environment. This review identifies the need for systemic change in both the public and private sectors. This includes changes in the way that government regulates the housing sector. It also identifies key themes relating to quality of life and the homes and communities in which we live. 

Read the full report here

Policy: Our response to the Planning White Paper

While we believe the Planning White Paper offers complex and thoughtful solutions to longstanding and major problems, we have identified areas where greater detail or further thought are needed.

Overall, we would urge the Government to clarify just how local communities and local authorities are to be involved and supported through this process so we can change the UK housing model from one of short-term gain to long-term social, economic and environmental success.

Read more about it here.