What we do

We focus on how people think and feel about their homes and communities, and how that experience can be improved. We do this through: 

Research to provide insights and leadership;

A quality of life framework to apply those insights to the built environment;

Practical projects that create change.

The Coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated to us all how important where we live is in determining our quality of life. This extends from how much space we have to what shops and services we can access within a short walk or drive from our house. We must therefore focus on what people need in the long term and ensure that we build with quality of life in mind. If we start asking the right questions now, then perhaps we can make something good come out of this.

Research: Quality of life at home

We commissioned Social Life and Kaizen Partnership to interview residents in a variety of homes and communities across the UK. We asked them what they think makes a good place to live so we could find out what’s important to people’s quality of life at home. This work carried on through lockdown with the help of in-depth interviews carried out over the phone and online, backed up by photographs and hand-drawn maps.

Research: community consultation

We are currently working on a new, data-driven model of community consultation post-Covid with the University of Reading and Commonplace.

Community Consultation for Quality of Life (CCQoL) will bring together the latest re research and best practice on how to engage and empower local communities through the planning process in the UK.

If you would like to get involved and lend your support to this project then contact us now.

Research: lockdown poll

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.

Research: 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. 

You can download a copy of the report here.

Our framework

Our framework is a way of showing how our homes and communities affect our quality of life. It consists of six themes: nature, wonder, homes, movement, belonging and control. Each relates to a different aspect of people's experience. We are using this framework, developed in collaboration with URBED, to help people participate in the way their homes are created and cared for.

Belonging

People should feel ‘at home’ where they live - and that means within both their homes and their communities. That means creating places that encourage and support interactions with others where people live and work, and creating a local identity through the provision of shops and services. Building in this way nurtures cultures that are intrinsic to a place and help people to build roots, traditions and identities, which also contributes to a sense of belonging.

Control

The feeling of agency and the ability to have a say over changes within a neighbourhood allows people to invest in their community for the long-term.

Nature

Having access to nature in our built environment is vital to our wellbeing, and over the past few months this has become increasingly evident. We have been able to take a step back, slow down and realise quite how important the natural environment is to our physical and mental health.

Wonder

A place that ignites creativity through fun, wonder, exploration and adventure through all means will greatly support and improve the mental and physical wellbeing of its community.

Homes

Healthy homes are healthy for people and healthy for the planet. They are constructed with care and attention to detail, and can accommodate different uses over time. Too often, the quality of homes is patchy, and initiatives such as permitted development highlight the need to regulate how new homes are created.

Movement

The ability to move freely (and flexibly, as modes of transport shift) is important to our normal, day-to-day lives as well as our more exciting and adventurous experiences. And, the benefits of active travel (i.e. walking and cycling) boost our physical and mental health.

YourQOL  resident-led evaluation

Crucial to making wellbeing central to the way we create and care for our homes and communities is a more active and long-lasting dialogue with communities and residents throughout the development process.

An important missing element is feedback from residents about how good (or otherwise) their homes and neighbourhoods are. For example:

  • Do you feel safe in your neighbourhood?
  • Do you have an opportunity to connect with nature?
  • Is it safe for children to play outside?

The Foundation is working with Commonplace, the online community engagement platform, to create a post-occupancy service, YourQOL.

The first site to be assessed is Grosvenor Group’s Barton Park in Oxfordshire, but we are looking for other partners to be involved.

This project will form a key element in wider research into how we can streamline the entire community consultation process.

If you are interested in being involved in this project then please contact us.