Please note that What Works Wellbeing will close operations on 30 April 2024.  Read more
May 2022

Places, Spaces and Social Connections Review Update

Adding evidence from the past five years to further build the social infrastructure and wellbeing evidence base.

Places, spaces and social connections review update
In partnership with

In 2018 we published a systematic review and briefing which looked at the global evidence base for improving people’s wellbeing through changes to the community infrastructure.

The research included studies from 1997 to 2017 and we now have five more years’ worth of work to identify, consider and embed in our evidence base. In these intervening years we have experienced a global pandemic which has highlighted the value of community infrastructure and public space to communities.

Supplementing existing knowledge

This project seeks to bring in research conducted in the past five years to produce an addendum to the earlier review, together with a different, more generous evidence threshold, and a renewed open call for evidence.

It will explore the difference made to wellbeing as a result of changes made to:

  • Public places designed for people to meet, which include streets, squares, parks, play areas, village halls and community centres.
  • Places where people meet informally or are used as meeting places, such as cafes, pubs, libraries, schools and churches.
  • Services that can facilitate access to places to meet, including urban design, landscape architecture and public art, transport, public health organisations, subsidised housing sites, and bus routes.

Working with researchers at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Liverpool, we will be searching for new evaluations published in the past five years, academic and grey literature, and exploring the extent to which we can better identify what works in changing community infrastructure and improving wellbeing.


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In this project

Briefings and reports - 2018 and 2021
Places, Spaces, People and Wellbeing / Community Hubs and Green Space
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Call for evidence - May 2022
Call for evidence: Places, spaces and social connections
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Blog by Ingrid Abreu Scherer 2018
Places, spaces, social connection and people’s wellbeing: what works?
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Scoping review - 2017
Social relations and wellbeing
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