Health and Well Being, the Keys to Environmental Design!

research projects

A few of the exciting direction the Charity is currently exploring

The Design Charity's mission is to research, educate and raise awareness in the emerging field of healing environments. 

This research will include such as issues as: 

  • the benefits of designed green spaces on metal health and physical well being; 
  • the impact of enriched environments on social isolation and loneliness and
  •  the role of interactive technology in all these areas - see also 'Responsive environments' and Gardens of consciousness'


Help reduce the impact of the glaring inequalities between rich and poor!

Access to high quality nature particularly gardens and small urban parks has been shown to lessen the gap between rich and poor especially for the elderly and children.This benefit not only manifests in personal satisfaction and quality of life studies but also on mortality figures and crime statistics.

In this respect London is known to be one of the greenest urban centres in Europe however much of that land is locked up - in many cases literally - in 'green deserts' that surround social housing.


A case in point?

As a Guardian headline boldly states:

'Grenfell Tower tragedy shows social housing system has failed in the UK'

Is this an opportunity for us to 'green' such 'deserts'?

Given the reluctance for drastic social structural reform, high quality landscape has been shown to help! 

Digital Dreamtime


Locative and Mobile Tech

With the aid of locative and mobile technology, the landscape of a typical social housing estate can be invested with archetypal cultural and spiritual significance! – that is to say that the ‘sense of desolation’ that many complain surround such estates will be given a profound sense of place, rooted in the nurturing qualities of natural beauty and shared social history. This installation will test the hypothesis that 'the careful configuration of environmental values can promote personal and communal transformation.' 


'Song Lines'

Digital Dreamtime’ will be composed from the exposed ‘song lines ‘ of the ‘green deserts’ that so often surround Social housing.Taking inspiration from aboriginal culture and their concept of dreamtime, I propose to use augmented reality and locative media to provide a personalised environment for every resident. This environment will tap in to their idealised sense of natural paradise whatever the source. This source maybe  from their native land, from reference to a particular culture or just from highly personalised experience.

Immersed in Awe

Check out this great video

Plant Hunters


Plant hunters is a seek and collect style game for Smartphones and tablet devices

  This piece is called Plant hunters and is composed of  a 'seek and collect' style game for Smartphones and tablet devices together with a Wardian cube which serves as a multi-media digital hub that helps to embed the game in a given community – the cube houses an integral community garden. 

The game is based on ‘Plant Collecting’, a long-established horticultural tradition dating back at least 500 years in the British Isles to the “Tradescants” who sourced material in Russia and the Americas in their role as head gardeners to King Charles I. The role of the plant hunter subsequently boomed in Victorian England with the invention of the Wardian case. Plant collecting continues to make a vital contribution today to conservation and biodiversity: 

Using an ‘app’, users assume the role of the ‘plant hunter’ and visit various progressively widening geographical areas in search of virtual specimens. Plants are found by solving visual clues, audio clues, and puzzles, or by collecting information – all provided by the app. When collected, plants are added to a virtual repository within the app and can be used to create virtual gardens individually, or in collaboration with other users. 


The Wardian Cube

Plant Hunters is a stand alone digital game, however its themes and technologies can be adapted or extended to add educational and social value to almost any setting, including community gardens, public parks, and AONB. Plant Hunters relies on  "The Wardian Cube” to embed the game within a given community. It does this by enabling players to display and cultivate their virtual plants in a shared physical space. 

A Responsive Roof Garden


Digital Media embedded within Capability Brown Countryside

The Design CIC has been commissioned to provide a draft design for a roof garden in the new Queen’s Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport. The brief is to recreate the ambience of classic British landscape with Hogarthian curves and Capability Brown rolling ‘countryside’. This grand tradition will be infused with interactive digital media.


HighTech Competition

Determined to keep its place in the world rankings, Heathrow is aware of the competition from other highly rated international airports such as Changi in Singapore which boasts a ‘Social Tree’ – shown here – as well as three nature trails with themed gardens.

Like Changi, Heathrow aims to transform travel by providing tired passengers with a memorably restorative experience:

‘Slow down and take some time out of your travel schedule to refresh yourself with soothing nature. Pockets of lush greenery are scattered throughout our three terminals, which are easily accessible by our Sky trains. With four hours to spare, let our themed gardens transport you away from the hustle and bustle of travel.’


Interactive Kids area (with Online Shopping for Mum and Dad)

Of course, if travellers are to rest we must not neglect the children who will be provided with an interactive entertainment area in their own landscape Folly

In the meantime, Mum and Dad can indulge in a little last minute shopping from a variety of screen and 'green'  pod environments – ordered remotely selected goods can be delivered to the passengers as they board their plane.


Interactive Acorn 'Pods', Data Streaming Oak Tree branches....

Highlighting the role of the oak tree in the Great British landscape, the design plays thematically with interactive digtal ‘acorn’ pods, data streaming oak tree branches, customised oak leaf Ipads and projected oak leaf stepping stones.

Inateractive and responsive on many levels

The roof garden is programmed to be responsive on many levels, all of which aim to turn the tedium of travel into one of the most memorable parts of any holiday, as well as adding fun, relaxation and restoration to a mundane business trip.