UCL Global


Salutogenic environments: non-pharmacological interventions for better health

A research project on non-pharmacological intervention for improved public health. Part of the Cities partnership Programme.

15 September 2022

The environment in relation to human physiology and perception is a very important topic that has not been explored so far in a holistic way: from the air that we breathe to the food that comes into our bodies, the nature that surrounds us and the places of care. We have evidence that views on nature have a therapeutic effect and that nutrition can have significant effects on vulnerable people, older people and people with healthcare conditions.

In reality though, this has not penetrated our urban grid nor the regulations of design. So, the high street is still full of options of food of low nutritional value and the same happens even in the hospital canteens. The indoor air-quality of spaces where people live, including old and frail or children, is still unregulated to a great extent and our hospitals and cities are still deprived of green spaces, even if the therapeutic element is demonstrated. The most important thing though is that these aspects still are part of silos and very rarely are explored together. So, the architects when they speak of therapeutic environments might ignore nutrition as a factor to explore, nutritionists might not consider the built environment as an area to include in their teaching or research --even though according to evidence, for example, the proximity to unhealthy food maters. 

Therefore, the purpose of this project is to explore the synergies that can develop when these factors come together are lost and our living and healing environments present weak links. All these aspects are very important when the health systems are under immense pressure, when we have challenging demographics with increasing numbers of older and vulnerable adults and even in some cases, reduction in the lifespan both in the UK and in Europe as a result of environmental factors. 


Environmental Design

UCL leads