UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


Making sense of the built environment on our health and wellbeing

27 September 2017

As part of induction week our new MSc students on the 'Health, Wealth and Sustainable Buildings' programme took part in a sensory walk around London.

MSc Students Sensory Walk - UCL

The staff and students of the new MSc 'Health, Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings' put their best feet forward at King’s Cross. Walking from the British Library via the residential streets of Somers Town, the hustle of the Granary Square redevelopment to the tranquil nature reserve of Camley Street. However, this was a walk with a difference: we asked the students to pay conscious attention to what it feels like to be in the city, focusing on their senses to explore the surroundings. The five senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch – help us to learn about our surroundings and think about how we experience them. Focusing on the senses can help understand physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. 

We spent the afternoon exploring the city from our own sensory perceptions, jotting down our observations and stopping to discuss the place, our reactions to it and links to our health and wellbeing. We collectively discovered textures, sounds, surfaces, airflows and smells; we shared these experiences and investigated how we each felt at a personal level, alongside the potential impacts to health and wellbeing. Although we may have got some odd looks from passers-by, it was a great way to get to know each other and explore an area close to UCL.