Blurry people

Mobility, Mood and Place

Prof Catharine Ward Thompson

OPENspace research centre, University of Edinburgh

September 2013 to January 2017

AIM: Mobility, Mood and Place (MMP) explores how places can be designed collaboratively to make pedestrian mobility easy, enjoyable and meaningful for older people.


  • To bring together researchers, designers-in-training and older participants to envision places, from homes to public spaces, which are inclusive, enabling and inspirational.
  • To explore emotional dimensions of place, and better understand how setting impacts on behaviour, using mobile neural imaging methods and walking interviews.
  • To investigate how physical, built and social environments evolve over time, and how they impact on inequalities in health-related mobility as people move into older age, using lifecourse data from the Lothian Birth Cohort.

Main project outcomes:

  • Guidelines, design exemplars for age-friendly environments and potential tool for evaluating environmental design interventions.
  • Identified ‘affective’ dimensions of places.
  • Exemplary processes for co-designing with older people.
  • Methodology for understanding negative and positive emotive ‘hot spots’ in the environment that affect older people’s mobility.
  • Environmental indicators of healthy and mobile lifestyles in older age.
  • Identification of environmental factors that are important at different life stages in relation to mobility and health in older age.