The project used some of the UK’s extremely valuable existing (‘secondary’) datasets to address this research question. Secondary datasets are very useful for this type of research because they have already been funded, collected and processed, so are very cost-effective. They also tend to be very large, allowing us to address complex research questions.
The research integrated two types of secondary data:
Health and socio-economic status data (from the census and national household surveys)
Indicators of ecological type (e.g. grassland, woodland, coast) and character (e.g. biodiversity, ecosystem quality, designated status)
Beyond Greenspace also explored relationships at a local level using ecological data from the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
A key output from the project was the paper Beyond greenspace: an ecological study of population general health and indicators of natural environment type and quality in the International Journal of Health Geographics.
The study involved a number of researchers at the Centre, and had an advisory board including representatives from Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Forest Research and the University of Edinburgh.