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About I’DGO

Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors is the brainchild of three academic research centres, working as a multi-disciplinary consortium, supported by a wide range of partners in industry, government and advocacy. The researchers are based in Edinburgh, Warwick and Salford, but engage in fieldwork throughout the UK and beyond. Largely through involvement in an Advisory Group, which convenes every six months, the partners help monitor progress and advise on outputs and delivery, ensuring our work is both "useful and useable". In addition, we consult an international panel of experts comprising individual academic specialists in relevant research areas.

Research Centres

OPENspace (www.openspace.eca.ac.uk)

OPENspace is the research centre for inclusive access to outdoor environments based at Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University. A collaborative, multi-disciplinary team, we bring together experts in landscape architecture, environmental psychology, human geography, 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. As evidenced by our involvement in I’DGO, we focus on the benefits to be gained from getting outdoors and the barriers currently experienced by different users, including minority groups.

OPENspace is led by Professor Catharine Ward Thompson (Edinburgh College of Art), Director of the I’DGO consortium. Team members contributing to Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors include Professor Peter Aspinall (Heriot-Watt University), Dr Susana Alves, Dr Affonso Zuin, Dr Jenny Roe and Dr Lynette Robertson, with input from Professor Archie Young (Geriatric Medicine Unit at the University of Edinburgh). Over the years, the project has also involved former OPENspace researchers Dr Takemi Sugiyama, Dr Katherine Southwell and Dr Catherine Millington. The Edinburgh-based I’DGO support team includes Anna Orme (Administrator), Mary Craig (Policy Liaison) and Máire Cox (Communicator).

WISE (www.tinyurl.com/2wsx7xx)

WISE (Wellbeing in Sustainable Environments) is an international-calibre research unit based within the School of Health and Social Studies and School of Engineering at the University of Warwick. Our expertise is in architecture and urban planning and design and we have been working together for over fifteen years, formerly at the Oxford Institute for Sustainable Development (OISD) at Oxford Brookes University. Our work focuses on the social aspects of sustainability - exploring how the built environment affects people’s wellbeing, mental health and quality of life - and we work closely with practitioners from a range of disciplines. Our interest in I’DGO is rooted in an earlier piece of EQUAL-funded research, Designing Dementia-Friendly Outdoor Environments.

WISE is led by Professor Elizabeth Burton and includes team members Dr Lynne Mitchell and Amanda Griffin. Our work within Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors has also involved former WISE team member, Dr Nicola Dempsey.

SURFACE Inclusive Design Research Centre (www.surface.salford.ac.uk)

SURFACE Inclusive Design Research Centre at the University of Salford is a multi-disciplinary centre forging a joined-up approach to teaching, research and consultancy in inclusive design. Committed to tackling ‘real world’ challenges, we explore design using the social model of disability, from the planning of the public realm to the detailing of the home, its products and technologies. Our team is a community of experts, each with a different perspective on inclusive design, and a background in industry, advocacy or government. Our involvement in I’DGO is focused on the detailed design of accessible streets and neighbourhoods; places that can be used by everyone, regardless of age, ability or circumstance.

The SURFACE team is led by Professor Marcus Ormerod and, for Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors, includes Rita Newton, Mohammad Faruk and Hamish MacLennan, with support from Jenny MacLennan. Dr Vanja Garaj worked on the first phase of the project and - for the second phase (I’DGO TOO) - we are collaborating with the Centre for Health, Sport & Rehabilitation Sciences Research, also based at the University of Salford. Their team comprises Professor David Howard, Professor Christopher Nester, Dr Laurence Kenney and Dr Sibylle Thies, with support from Andrew Bonehill and Matthew Major.


The following 38 partners, listed in alphabetical order, are involved in the second phase of research, I’DGO TOO, which began in 2007 and will complete in 2011.

The partners for our first phase of research, which ran from 2003 until 2007, comprised the following four organisations (as a Core Management Group)…

… and the following 11 individual collaborators, representing the various organisations listed …

  • Rachel Connor, Department for Communities and Local Government
  • Lesley Dunbar, Aberdeen City Council
  • Andrew Walker, Board Member of United Kingdom Institute for Inclusive Design (UkiiD)
  • John Gregory, Cherwell District Council
  • Jeremy Sacha, Cherwell District Council
  • Nick Scarborough, Constructing Excellence
  • Carmen Duncan, City of Edinburgh Council
  • Julie Proctor, Greenspace Scotland
  • Carol Thomas, JMU Access Partnership
  • David Skelton, Merseytravel
  • David Page, Page and Park Architects

International Panel of Experts

We are consulting the following 10 experts (listed in alphabetical order) on the second phase of Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors, I’DGO TOO. Most will meet on 14th-15th February 2011 in Edinburgh to discuss the project’s findings and the implications for international knowledge exchange and dissemination.

  • Dr James A Ashton-Miller of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Michigan (USA)
  • Professor Fiona Bull of the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University (UK)
  • Professor Gloria Gutman of the Gerontology Research Centre at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (Canada)
  • Professor Rachel Kaplan of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan (USA)
  • Dr Brian Little of McGill and Carleton Universities (Canada) and Harvard University (USA)
  • Professor Hylton B Menz of the Faculty of Health Sciences at LaTrobe University (Australia)
  • Rob Methorst of the Rijkswaterstaat Centre for Transport and Navigation at the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management (The Netherlands)
  • Dr Louise Plouffe of the Division of Aging and Seniors at the Public Health Agency of Canada (Canada)
  • Dr Dawn Skelton of the School of Health & Social Care at Glasgow Caledonian University (Scotland, UK)
  • Dr John Zeisel of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care & the Hearthstone Alzheimer’s Family Foundation (USA)

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I'DGO - Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors. Last updated 10 June 2007

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