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panaromic view of some trees and welcome to openspace message

OPENspace is an international research centre contributing new evidence on why inclusive access to the outdoors matters.


A collaborative, multi-disciplinary team based in Edinburgh, we bring together experts in landscape architecture, environmental psychology, human geography, forestry, quality of life measures and design for all ages and abilities.

Addressing the full spectrum of open space environments - from city parks and squares to remote rural landscapes - our work cuts across a number of policy areas, including health and wellbeing, social inclusion, countryside access and sustainable urban renaissance.

We focus on the benefits to be gained from getting outdoors and the barriers currently experienced by different users, particularly those from disadvantaged groups.

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Catharine Ward Thompson speaking at the presentation of the I'DGO TOO research findings

Watch online: Catharine’s lectures "Is Green Good for You" and "You really should get out more!" and her short introduction to OPENspace, "Research In a Nutshell".

Find out more about a new MSc in Cultural Landscapes at ECA organised by Dr Penny Travlou of OPENspace.

Read an interview with Catharine Ward Thompson on older people’s inclusive access to the outdoor environment by Lyndsay Buckland, Health Correspondent, The Scotsman.

Find out more about our new knowledge exchange programme, Memory-Friendly Neighbourhoods, with the University of Stirling.


LEFT: Professor Catharine Ward Thompson, Director of OPENspace, speaking at the presentation of the I'DGO TOO research findings in Europe House, Westminster, on 26th April 2012.
Photo © Chris Hutty, CHP Press & PR Photography