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25 August 2022

The need for Green Infrastructure and interventions between the libraries and lecture halls

The need for Green Infrastructure and interventions between the libraries and lecture halls

University campuses provide the backdrop to many young adults’ experiences of higher education, living away from their parents and discovering their independence. It is a transitional time acted out in front of the landscapes and library spaces, student unions, academics offices and the green spaces between bus stops, deadlines and lecture theatres.

Over the past decade there has been increased demand for university student support services. Simultaneously, evidence has been developing that shows wellbeing benefits of engagement with the natural environment. Dr Francesca Boyd’s recent research article explores the opportunities to integrate nature into university life. This research was conducted as part of her PhD at the University of Sheffield, as part of the IWUN project. The IWUN project was a multidisciplinary research project focused on how the natural environment in Sheffield contributed to the health and wellbeing of city residents. The team developed a mobile phone app and this intervention along with a more traditional green prescription style walking intervention formed the basis of Dr Boyd’s experiment.

The mixed method approach allowed the experience of the intervention to be discussed in detail. It was through focus groups that the need for green between the library and lectures became apparent. Participants’ experiences revealed the necessity for a whole university approach that considers intervention and campus design simultaneously. This was most tangible in the connections participants had to plants, especially trees. Dr Boyd’s article also discusses the unseen dimensions which affect how and why a space is or is not used. For university students’ the role of social pressures and expectations was at the forefront.

This research highlights the importance of multi-disciplinary approaches to creating holistic interventions for university students’ wellbeing. The opportunity to create space where nature and humans thrive should bring together researchers and practitioners from across the university sector. Many disciplines and departments should collaborate to understand the university student’s experience of urban green spaces, the significance of trees and the opportunity to improve wellbeing through landscape design. This partnership should aim to make a difference to university campus design, to create places which make us all feel better and support nature.

Dr Francesca Boyd

Find the article on GGR Publications here.

Westone Park Article Boyd (University of Sheffield) by "Dr Francesca Boyd", licensed under some rights reserved, for promotion