Creating Healthy Outdoor Spaces

As employees return to offices, students to schools and the public to social venues, the need for safe and confidence-inspiring natural spaces is more important than ever.

Healthy outdoor spaces will be in the spotlight as our cities return to ‘business as usual.’ People are set to return with a renewed appreciation for outdoor space. After months of lockdown, many of us have relied on time outdoors and physical exercise as a means of escape – taking up running or cycling for example, or maybe just ensuring we’ve been for a walk each day.

Given this, we can expect people to be open to creative ways of working when they return to the office. As a result, many companies are introducing outdoor spaces specifically designed for a new era of outdoor-centric, open-air working and learning.

Why healthy outdoor space matters

It is a well proven fact that being outdoors and in nature has an enormous beneficial impact on our well-being and mental health. By contrast, according to a recent survey by Design Council, physical inactivity alone is responsible for one in six UK deaths (that’s equal to smoking) and is estimated to cost the UK £7.4 billion annually. Behaviour patterns are responsible for 40% of the cause of premature death in the UK. An evidence review by Public Health England substantiates the theory that improved physical and mental health can be supported by designing neighbourhoods that enable:

  • Physical activity: To increase walkability in buildings and neighbourhoods and encourage healthy modes of transport
  • Healthy food: To improve access to healthier foods
  • Social contact: To design well-connected housing and neighbourhoods that provide access to facilities and amenities to reduce social isolation and loneliness
  • Contact with nature: To provide access to the natural environment, including parks
  • Pollution: Reducing exposure to air and noise pollution

Healthy outdoor spaces in the workplace

Access to quality outdoor spaces impacts humans in a very holistic way. It touches on the many different facets of health to make people happier, more physically healthy, more confident, more focused, and more productive.

Many companies with a city presence have invested a huge amount of money to be there. Some have likely invested further in upgrading the office interior. However, the outside is often neglected. Courtyards, terraces and entrance ways are all areas that can be adapted to provide a flexible outdoor space for working or relaxing, and often cost-effectively too.

Outdoor spaces can be created around clear and concise visual cues to denote appropriate distancing, guide pedestrian flow, ensure privacy and allow for small group networking.

Speak to London’s outdoor space experts

Valley Provincial have been enhancing London’s landscape for over 40 years. Contact us today for a design and build transformation of your outdoor areas. We are able to work with modular furniture, existing features and use planting to put biophilia and well-being at the centre.

Create a healthy outdoor space