UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


A trip to Cambridge helps MSc students see health on a global scale

6 June 2022

A trip to Cambridge gave Master's student Sem Lee the opportunity to consider health and behaviour from both an individual and global scale.

Health Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings MSc trip to Cambridge

From thinking about models of alternative housing for intentional communities to visiting an eco-mosque that is abundant in sustainability credentials with the use of timber being used to bridge the land of the living to the spiritual, the Health Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings MSc trip to Cambridge was both informative and inspiring. 

On the first day, we visited Marmalade Lane - Cambridge's first cohousing community. We were shown around the development and told the history of the land and how the cohousing community came about after the financial crash back in 2008. The students, tutors and some tenants gathered after lunch and we shared our ideas of home and thoughts on community-led housing / co-housing. There were rich discussions on the intricacies of delivering a cohousing development, inclusion and agency in decision making. Afterwards we enjoyed an hour on the beautiful river Cam for a punting tour of Cambridge.  

Health Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings trip to Cambridge

On the second day, a trip to Eddington - Cambridge’s newest neighbourhood. We saw presentations from Pamela Carbajal, who has worked at UN Habitat as an Urban Health Consultant and now works at MRC Epidemiology Unit, who discussed participatory design processes and their implementation at UN Habitat, and Robin Nicholson, Fellow at Cullinan Studios and the Chair of the Cambridgeshire Quality Panel, who took us through the challenges presented to planning & planning policy by the rapidly changing environmental and economic landscape. He spoke on the importance of how it is up to us as architects and built environment professionals to continue to push policy and practice forwards. After the presentations, Robin guided us on a tour of Eddington, helping us to interrogate the practicalities of building new neighbourhoods.   

Health Wellbeing and Sustainable Buildings trip to Cambridge

The final destination was Europe’s first eco-mosque. A beautifully constructed building that brings together Islamic influences with ecology in a seamless fashion. The building itself had a calming ambience and the natural light drawn into the building through the tree-like pillars lit up the space in a graceful way.   

Although the trip was only two days, it was a great representation of how the course is taught: thinking about health and human behaviour from the global scale to the individual, from policy to practice and how these all play a part in creating a built environment that is beneficial for society & the planet.