Design criteria for social spaces and a healthier university campus. A Coventry University case study?

  • Adelina Manea

Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Science by Research


Wellbeing has been discussed at large in the last few years, both in academic work and by the wider population, and numerous studies have been done about wellbeing in the built environment. This work aims to investigate design that promotes wellbeing in the academic environment, by interrogating methods to encourage wellbeing from psychology, investigating spaces which promote it to extract the key features, and mapping existing building rating systems to identify gaps. Primary data collection was mainly conducted during the COVID-19 national lockdowns, therefore online interview methods were used, and analysis was done using a mixed method approach, with both quantitative and qualitative methods. Results show that buildings which have a green certification provide spaces for wellbeing, but not consistently at the same levels, therefore the Social Spaces design criteria were developed as part of this study, to assess core campus social spaces on their accessibility to campus users, the flexibility of the space, as well as access to natural features such as greenery, light and water, food and drink opportunities, and toilet facilities; to be used at all stages of the design process, for new buildings and refurbishments, in conjunction with green certification systems. The study focused on a city centre university campus, Coventry University, which found that healthy physical spaces are important in academia and valued by students and staff. This is the first time when a study of this kind has been carried out in the UK on a city centre campus. The significance of this study is to provide designers with tools to create spaces that are supportive and welcoming staff and students and therefore enhancing the value of design.The outcomes of this study can be applied on existing and new building design to improve the quality of social spaces, whether they hold a green certification or not
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University


  • LEED
  • WELL
  • wellbeing
  • social spaces
  • healthy workplaces
  • healthy study spaces
  • productivity
  • COVID-19
  • student satisfaction

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