Edinburgh Research Explorer

Activity, exercise and the planning and design of outdoor spaces

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Open Access permissions



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-96
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Early online date6 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


This paper reviews research into the relationships between attributes of outdoor environments and levels of activity and exercise in populations using those environments. It takes an environmental designer’s view of relevant and effective research and research approaches that can provide evidence for policy and practice. The paper has a tripartite structure, examining theories, research methods, and findings that contribute to understanding links between physical activity and the planning and design of outdoor spaces. It considers concepts, methods and evidence relevant to adults’, older adults’ and children’s activities and identifies those that appear to offer greatest potential for future research. It also identifies gaps in our understanding, the need for well-conceptualized models of environment-behaviour interactions to elucidate these, and the importance of collecting and presenting evidence in ways that are sympathetic to design practice. If evidence is to lead to effective and salutogenic changes in our physical environment, then findings that translate readily into a design framework will be most beneficial.

    Research areas

  • physical activity, health, physical environment, environmental design, built environment, public realm

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 6085324