UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering


The interaction of the social and built environment in the generation of physical activity

30 November 2016

By Alexia Sawyer


Abi Fisher (Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL)

Marcella Ucci

2014 - ongoing

This PhD is a collaboration, via the UCL Impact Studentship Scheme, between University College London and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health. Although physical activity (PA) is critically important in preventing and managing poor health, only around 5% of British adults meet PA guidelines. Novel ways to increase PA across the whole population are therefore urgently needed. 

Building upon research and theory, the aim of this studentship is to i) investigate whether social capital and the physical environment are independently and interactively associated with PA and ii) examine the specific features of physical environments that interact with perceived social capital to promote PA. Validated questionnaires and cutting-edge technology will be used to collect data on PA, perceived social capital and features of the built environment. 

It is hypothesised that multi-level regression modelling will reveal that perceived social capital and the physical environment are independently associated with physical activity, with an interactive effect between certain components of social capital and features of the physical environment. Qualitative investigation will provide deeper understanding of these associations and reveal avenues for future intervention.