Jamie Pearce and Niamh Shortt, along with colleagues in the Edinburgh College of Art, the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre, School of Social and Political Science, Geriatric Medicine, Kings College London and Heriot Watt University have been successful in securing funding (£1.58 million) under the cross council Design for Wellbeing call led by the EPSRC along with the ESRC and the AHRC. The project, Mobility, Mood and Place, led by Professor Catherine Ward Thompson, will run for 3 years with Jamie and Niamh leading one of the four work packages. This work package will focus on a ‘lifecourse of place’, exploring how physical, built and social environments evolve over time and consider whether these processes are implicated in explaining inequalities in health-related mobility in older age. To get more of an idea of what we plan to do see Jamie’s recent blog post.
The CRESH team, led by Niamh Shortt, has been awarded a grant from the MRC/CSO Scottish Collaboration for Public Health Research and Policy. The research will examine whether the density of tobacco and alcohol outlets around schools and homes affects smoking and drinking behaviours among 13 and 15 year olds, in Scotland. The grant begins in early 2011 and we’ll be looking to recruit staff soon. Watch our website for more details.
A team of researchers from a range of disciplines, including Professor Jamie Pearce from CRESH, has been successful in an application to the Medical Research Council (MRC) for a Strategic Grant to undertake pilot work on the outdoor environment and older people’s resilience to falls. The study, titled Go Far (Going Outdoors: Falls, Ageing & Resilience), will be a year-long project linking into Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (LLHW): a major cross-council initiative supporting research into healthy ageing and wellbeing in later life. The study is led by the SURFACE Inclusive Design Research Centre at theUniversityofSalford. The CRESH contribution will be to consider socio-spatial patterns in falls among the elderly in the UK.
A new CRESH project funded by the European Research Council commenced on 1st October 2011. Funded for 1.4 million euros over 5 years, this international study is considering how existing secondary datasets might be utilised to answer important questions about the pathways linking the environment to to health. The work commenced on 1st October 2011 and is led by Prof Jamie Pearce, Dr Niamh Shortt and Prof Richard Mitchell. We are delighted to be able to appoint three members of staff Dr Elizabeth Richardson, Esther Rind, Dr Helena Tunstall. More details on our progress with this project will be posted on the CRESH webpage.
The CRESH team have been successful in securing a grant from the European Research Council entitled ‘Physical Built Environments and Health Inequalities’. The named investigators on the project are Dr Jamie Pearce, Dr Niamh Shortt and Prof Richard Mitchell. The project is funded for five years (2011-16) for €1,399,570.
CRESH members Drs Jamie Pearce and Elizabeth Richardson are part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers recently awarded interdisciplinary funding to examine the role of pollution and weather events in shaping health and inequalities in the UK. In collaboration with Edinburgh colleagues Ruth Doherty (Edinburgh PI), Mat Heal, David Stevenson and Massimo Vieno they have secured a grant entitled “Air pollution and weather-related health impacts: methodological study based on spatio-temporally disaggregated multi-pollutants models for present day and future”, awarded under the UK cross-council Environmental Exposure and Health Initiative. The project involves 5 institutions with atmospheric scientists at the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde, epidemiologists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and St. Georges Hospital, University of London, health geographers and social scientists at Edinburgh and LSHTM and experts in building physics at University College London. The total award is £1.8M over 4 years. The project will examine the spatial variations in health outcomes related to mixtures of air pollutants and weather in the UK, and the relationship to socio-economic inequalities. The WRF (meteorology) and EMEP (atmospheric chemistry) models will be used to simulate weather and composition at 5km by 5km resolution across the UK.
CRESH has been awarded a grant from the AHRC Connected Communities programme to look at The Big Society, a key idea underpinning the UKs coalition government. The work will start in January 2011
In a ‘Big Society’, citizens and communities take a vastly increased role in managing, shaping and delivering social and physical infrastructure. The idea is closely allied to notions of community activism and civic participation, and thereby to concepts of social capital and social cohesion. The idea behind Big Society is that not only do social and community problems get ‘fixed’ without direct state intervention; those involved draw social and health benefits from their roles. Measurement of community participation, social support, social capital and civic engagement is well developed at the individual level. However, Big Society places a focus on geographically defined communities such as ‘the neighbourhood’ or ‘your square mile’. Measuring and comparing community participation within neighbourhoods across the country is much harder and less well developed.
Existing literature provides compelling reasons for wanting to follow the progression of Big Society over time. The nature and size of social and environmental problems faced varies between communities. Some communities currently have greater levels of civic engagement than others, and some are probably better placed to begin or grow that kind of participation than others. If Big Society is to become a major route through which problems are solved and life in the UK is improved, it is essential that we understand who and where might benefit most, which communities might lead the way and which might need most help in adapting to the new policy. Monitoring where we start from, and where we go, is an essential component of this important change in the balance between citizens and the state.
If we want to learn whether a policy emphasis on Big Society changes participation in our neighbourhoods and communities, we need to know about how people currently participate. We also need to know this in a way which allows us to monitor how things may change. There is no contemporary picture of existing patterns of engagement, or indeed potential for engagement, across the UK. There is however, a range of existing methods for measuring and estimating levels of social capital or civic engagement within small geographically defined communities.
The objectives of the project are to
A) Identify sources of data on civic engagement, community participation, volunteering and community cohesion which either describe geographical variation in these characteristics across the UK, or which are suitable for producing estimates
B) Consider the candidacy for each of the identified characteristics as a contributor to measuring ‘Big Society’, and determine the small-area units best suited to capturing ‘community’ in this context
C) Identify the most suitable methods for deriving small area measures of community participation and action