Healthy Campus Planning, Sheffield Hallam University

health impact

Healthy Campus Planning, Sheffield Hallam University

Supporting thinking about a long term masterplan investment, Urban Habitats planned and facilitated a day workshop with teams from across the Sheffield Hallam University to consider health and wellbeing links to the masterplan principles and strategies.

This work aimed to build capacity within the University team across faculties and professional services divisions.  The workshop led participants through a series of hands on exercises to consider a wider determinants definition of health; understand better who the University population are; and develop through ideation methods a series of about 15 proposals.  These practical proposals were mapped against timescale and the University’s masterplan principles. 

The workshop supported a strong ambition “to make a real difference and impact with our proposals… through early thinking in the right way, great healthy and well design does not need to cost a lot or get value engineered out.” (SHU, Director of Estates)

The workshop was successful particularly in bringing together people from different areas of the university together: for example an estates mechanical engineer and human resources manager who had not previously met worked together to develop complementary proposals for freeing up public realm space taken up with services infrastructure and then adopting this as space for wellbeing spaces for mindfulness, reading, and hobbies. A key output was getting to know colleagues better and the internal assets already within the organisation.

From this day a workshop write up included a series of collated ideas that had been analysed against wellbeing benefits and also for consistency with the masterplan principles. This was done using a framework / checklist that could be adopted by individuals responsible for delivering projects and programmes in future.

What we learned from this work is the value of allowing time to discuss terms and ideas that are new and potentially challenging: population groups and how health impact is unequally felt by different groups in particular is a public health approach but for those not used to thinking in this way the language can be challenging. In particular language is constantly changing to be inclusive and whilst important to consider unequal impacts it is also important to avoid stigmatising groups.