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Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

Louise Mitchell

Title: Improving the health of older people with the use of green infrastructure: a case study approach investigating Care Farming and Community Gardening.

PhD summary

As global populations continue to grow at rapid rates, governments across the globe are exhausting efforts to find appropriate health services alongside exploring opportunities to limit our impact on the natural environment. Health services are stretched beyond working limits, particularly in the Global North where many nations are facing ageing populations and similar obstacles. One suggested method to tackle these issues surrounds the implementation of radical Green Infrastructure (GI), using community gardens and care farms, particularly within deprived communities. This important development of GI establishes public connection to areas of environment. Greater facilitation of this can be provided through social prescriptions, where medical professionals advise holistic approaches for a variety of social, psychological and physical
issues.

Within the field, reports of accessibility to green spaces improves both mental and physical health, therefore implementation within the United Kingdom (UK) could provide lasting benefits for the National Health Service (NHS) and to general public health. Research in this field is relatively novel and tends to be based in Scandinavian countries or the United States – therefore informing the basis of this literature review whilst giving potential for further data collection.

This project sets out to use mixed-methodology cross-sectionally, adopting sciences across the breath of environmental and health spheres, therefore allowing comparison and disparities to be drawn from a quantitative and qualitative database. Ultimately, the research shows that care farms and community gardens can impact significantly across deprived areas, with more work needed to understand their longer-term impacts on communities. Therefore, our work is committed to understand how environmental stimuli effects human physiology across the life course. 

Dates

October 2018 -October 2021 (MPhil)

Funding

The University Alliance: Doctoral Training Alliance

Institution name

The University of Salford

Supervisors

  • Dr Michael Hardman, Science, Engineering and Environment
  • Dr Michelle Howarth, Health & Society
  • Prof Penny Cook, Health & Society

Discipline area

Health Geography

Short biography 

I graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2018 with a Master of Science in Environmental Sustainability, after completing a BSc (Hons) in Sustainable Environmental Management, joint between the University of Edinburgh and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), in 2017.

My research career has always been focused on how community interactions for the benefit of health and the environment. I really enjoy working with people in the field to understand their opinions, in the hope of creating change at policy and legislative level.

Currently I Co-Chair the MICRA PhD Network to enable ageing researchers a platform for networking and improving research. Alongside this position I also act as a PGR representative for the Royal Geographical Society research group - Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group (GHWRG) and enjoy teaching students across undergraduate and postgraduate courses. 

Contact details

Email: L.Mitchell8@edu.salford.ac.uk