Landscapes of the life course initiative

This partnership between the University of Exeter, the Eden Project and Artist, James Eddy, is hoping to develop new tools to understand how people’s experiences of diverse natural environments can change at different stages in their lives.

Through an innovative pilot study, it will examine the potential to use mobile technology to better understand how people experience the Eden Project for health, happiness and wellbeing over time.

Visitors will be invited to download and trial an existing mobile app, called ‘ramblr’, which will allow visitors to map their route around the Eden Project in real time. When they wish to capture a particular moment or feature of the visit, the app can be used to add in a photo, video or a comment (written or audio) to the map at that specific location.

For example, perhaps a particularly striking or eye-catching feature captures interest, or maybe there is a specific part of the site that conjures fond memories or a particular sense of connection. Maybe certain areas are more or less accessible or appealing, or offer opportunities for specific activities and valued experiences off-the-beaten track.

Through capturing insights amongst Eden visitors from all walks of life, it is hoped the study will provide valuable understanding of how this process works, and how it influences visitor experiences at the Eden Project.

The project will also create a new garden exhibit – a horticultural ‘river’ of life – in Eden’s outdoor biome, conveying ideas about how our perceptions of these environments can change over time.

The idea for this initiative emerged from a study recently completed by Dr Sarah Bell that explored how people’s perceptions and experiences of different ‘natural’ environments can vary through life. These environments included parks, coastlines, woodlands, and attractions like the Eden Project.

In particular, the study examined how changes in personal circumstances over time – such as when people have children, move house, change careers, retire, or start caring for a loved one – can influence the sense of wellbeing gained from spending time in these outdoor settings.

Work on this project started in September 2015 and represents just one in a series of joint projects between the University of Exeter and the Eden Project that will be taking place throughout 2016.

For more information about the ‘Landscapes of the Life Course’ initiative, or to take part in the pilot study, please get in touch with Sarah at Sarah.Bell@exeter.ac.uk.