Birmingham City Council commissioned this research to explore the impact of Birmingham’s built environment on the health and wellbeing of the city’s population.
- 40 Birmingham residents took part in this research, with a carefully considered sample to represent various demographics.
- We structured our research tools and reporting on the World Green Building Council’s Principles for a Healthy, Sustainable Built Environment, which offered a perfect anchor for defining the various components of ‘health and wellbeing’ in the context of the ‘built environment’.
- Our method centred on a core element of digital ethnography.
- In a 2-week period, participants were asked to show us 4 journeys that they made across the city by taking photos, videos and voice notes, and writing diary entries to illustrate their experiences.
- The ethnography was sandwiched between two phases of cognitive recall interviewing, where we asked participants to recall in detail their experiences in their homes and give us step-by-step descriptions of a few familiar journeys around the city.
- Personal connection: Each participant was assigned a dedicated Shift researcher as their moderator, allowing them to build the rapport and trust needed for them to feel relaxed and able to discuss their personal health and wellbeing.
- Extremely open tasks: Asking participants to simply ‘go on a journey’ allowed us to see what was most important to them through what they chose to share.
- Integrating interviews: Including structured interviews allowed the ethnography to be open-ended so as to pick up on any missing themes.
- Depth of insight: The ethnography produced large volumes of rich, personal data, giving a true insight into residents’ lives that wouldn’t have been possible through other methods.
- Impact of the research: This research gave the council evidence for the improvement of residents’ physical, mental and economic health, feeding into council initiatives.