Skip navigation

People and Place


People and Place explores how we interact with the human-made, built environment around us such as buildings and towns and cities, and how these surroundings affect us and influence our behaviour. The group explores the complex and multi-faceted nature of the built environment as a place for people as well as for social and economic activity. Within this group there are several themes:  

Real Estate Markets 

Researchers within this theme examine how issues can impact on real estate markets with a focus on sustainability and green growth. Issues explored include sustainable urban development, building conversions, redevelopment of brownfield land, and the mechanics of regeneration.  

Place Making 

This theme encompasses all aspects of urban life, places and people. Topics explored include urban regeneration, the incorporation of nature in policy and decision-making, and digital construction and carbon analyses.  

Urban Morphology  

This theme focuses on how space is used and structured in the built environment. Data is collected and analysed from urban pedestrian and vehicular movements as well as demographic and geographic datasets. Methods such as space syntax analysis are used to visualise spatial layouts and map human activity patterns. This work is helping provide new insights for urban planning and real estate markets.  

Wellbeing and Health in a Sustainable Future  

This theme focuses on the diverse roles that the built environment must play in society's transition towards a sustainable future. Researchers explore how the built environment affects our sense of belonging, perception of place and environment, and the impact of physiological and psychological factors on our wellbeing. 


Projects and collaborations    

Place and belonging: what can we learn from Claremont Court Housing Scheme?

This cross-disciplinary research project explored how a place and its architecture can influence our sense of belonging and community. Researchers worked with social scientists from the University of Manchester using the Claremont Court Housing Scheme in Edinburgh as a case study. The research and findings from this project are helping to improve the way the housing developments are managed and enable better informed decisions for the betterment of residents.  

Supporting Children to be Active: identification of objective and perceived neighbourhood environmental features supportive of physical activity and mental wellbeing 

Many developing countries have seen a decrease in physical activity among children which can impact negatively on their physical and mental wellbeing. This research adopts a child-centred approach to assemble evidence on how the built environment around them affects them, and what their preferences and experiences in relation to this are. The findings may have significant implications for urban designers and policymakers in how spaces are designed and developed.

The urban and architectural legacies of the Winter Olympic Games 

This project examines architectural legacy in European Winter Olympic Games locations, exploring the construction, Games-time use, and subsequent reuse of key venues (including the ice halls, skating ovals, ski jumps and sliding centres) using a focused ethnographic approach. The study presents a 50-year journey of legacy in the European Winter Olympic Games host cities of Cortina d’Ampezzo (1956), Innsbruck (1964, 1976), Grenoble (1968), Albertville (1992), Lillehammer (1994) and Turin (2006). The aim of the research is to identify socio-cultural factors and characteristics of design and that support the long-term function of venues after the Games has ended, thus maximising the effective, sustainable long-term use of buildings.    

Mental health in UK Architectural Education 

Dr Peter Holgate received the RIBA Research Award in 2018 for a collaborative project with Professor David MacClean (Robert Gordon University) on Mental Health in UK Architectural Education that aimed to present an overview of student mental health in UK architecture students. Read the final report.


More events

Upcoming events

DynaSun 2024
TaPRA Conference 2024

Back to top