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May 26, 2022 | by Stewart Martin

Call for evidence: Places, spaces and social connections (closed)

Note that this call for evidence is now closed, but we still want to hear from you. Please contact evaluation@whatworkswellbeing.org to share your evaluation(s).

Have you evaluated the wellbeing impact of changes to and in community infrastructure? 

Have you analysed the difference made by public places and ‘bumping’ places designed for people to meet such as streets, squares, parks, play areas, village halls and community centres?

Or the extent to which cafes, pubs, community gardens, events and festivals, markets, libraries, schools and churches impact people’s wellbeing?

Have you read our Places, Spaces, People and Wellbeing evidence and produced evidence you think would be a valuable addition?

If so, we want to hear from you!

What is happening?

The What Works Centre for Wellbeing (WWCW) has commissioned Leeds Beckett University and the University of Liverpool to update the systematic review on social relations: Places, spaces, people and wellbeing that was undertaken in 2017. In the intervening five years, many more relevant studies have been published and the pandemic has highlighted the value of community infrastructure and public space to communities. The project is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Submission criteria

We are interested in studies from across voluntary, public and private sectors, to summarise evidence on what works to improve community infrastructure and by extension wellbeing outcomes that include improved social relations, individual health and wellbeing, community wellbeing, social capital and social trust.

  • Interventions (formal or informal, funded or unfunded) designed to improve, or make better or alternative use of, community infrastructure: physical places and spaces (for example, general urban redesign; interventions such as lighting and benches in open public spaces; children’s play places; funding to host community activities in places such as libraries or faith settings, or an intervention that had a different purpose but resulted in improved social relations).  
  • Interventions that apply at community or neighbourhood level (e.g. a town market), rather than city or national level (e.g. Leeds art gallery)
  • Quantitative evidence from before and after studies or quasi-/experimental designs. Qualitative evidence from mixed-method studies or qualitative only approaches
  • Produced from 2017 onwards
  • Published in English

Next steps

CLOSED – Please send any relevant studies to evaluation@whatworkswellbeing.org by Friday 24th June 2022 using the subject: Evidence submission – Places, Spaces and Social Connections.


Why a call for evidence?

Searching for evidence on wellbeing and related topics can present technical and resource challenges, particularly if studies are not adequately indexed by study design or wellbeing measures used. Our experience has shown that some of the wellbeing research produced by our Centre’s audiences is best located through a snowballing approach, by targeting relevant experts and stakeholders.

As part of our evidence reviews, we often use calls for evidence to complement structured database and online literature searches, and, in particular, to increase the sensitivity of grey literature searches. Where necessary, we seek advice from our project consultation groups to ensure quality and fully document the approach in our reports to maximise transparency.

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