Catharine Ward Thompson

Catharine Ward Thompson
The University of Edinburgh | UoE · OPENspace Centre

PhD, BSc, DIpLA

About

121
Publications
53,838
Reads
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6,879
Citations
Citations since 2016
48 Research Items
5025 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
Introduction
Catharine Ward Thompson currently works at the OPENspace Research Centre, Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, The University of Edinburgh.
Additional affiliations
September 2001 - present
The University of Edinburgh
Position
  • Managing Director

Publications

Publications (121)
Article
Full-text available
Background The burden of ill-health due to inactivity has recently been highlighted. Better studies on environments that support physical activity are called for, including longitudinal studies of environmental interventions. A programme of residential street improvements in the UK (Sustrans ‘DIY Streets’) allowed a rare opportunity for a prospecti...
Article
Full-text available
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that green spaces may positively influence psychological well-being. This project is designed to take advantage of a natural experiment where planned physical and social interventions to enhance access to natural environments in deprived communities provide an opportunity to prospectively assess imp...
Article
Full-text available
Contact with green space in the environment has been associated with mental health benefits, but the mechanism underpinning this association is not clear. This study extends an earlier exploratory study showing that more green space in deprived urban neighbourhoods in Scotland is linked to lower levels of perceived stress and improved physiological...
Article
Full-text available
Neurourbanism looks to understand the relationship between urban environments and mental well-being and is well placed to assess the role of these environments on the urbanised and ageing global population. This study builds on research using mobile electroencephalography (EEG) to understand the impact of urban environments (busy, quiet and green u...
Article
Full-text available
The exposure to green space in early life may support better cognitive aging in later life. However, this exposure is usually measured using the residential location alone. This disregards the exposure to green spaces in places frequented during daily activities (i.e., the ‘activity space’). Overlooking the multiple locations visited by an individu...
Article
Natural environments, such as parks, woodlands and lakes, have positive impacts on health and wellbeing. Urban Green and Blue Spaces (UGBS), and the activities that take place in them, can significantly influence the health outcomes of all communities, and reduce health inequalities. Improving access and quality of UGBS needs understanding of the r...
Article
Full-text available
Background Exposure to air pollution is associated with a range of diseases. Biomarkers derived from DNA methylation (DNAm) offer potential mechanistic insights into human health differences, connecting disease pathogenesis and biological ageing. However, little is known about sensitive periods during the life course where air pollution might have...
Preprint
Full-text available
Introduction Although neighbourhood may predict late-life cognitive function, studies mostly relies on measurements at a single time point, with few investigations applying a life-course approach. Further, it is unclear whether the associations between neighbourhood and cognitive tests scores relate to specific cognitive domains or general ability....
Article
Full-text available
Neighborhood features have been postulated to be key predictors of frailty. However, evidence is mainly limited to cross-sectional studies without indication of long-term impact. We explored how neighborhood social deprivation (NSD) across the life course is associated with frailty and frailty progression among older Scottish adults. Participants (...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with a range of diseases. Biomarkers derived from DNA methylation (DNAm) indicate a potential pathway to human health differences, connecting disease pathogenesis and biological ageing. However, little is known about sensitive periods during the life course where air pollution might have a...
Article
Full-text available
During the pandemic lockdown period, residents had to stay at home and increased stress and other mental health problems have been associated with the lockdown period. Since most public parks were closed, community parks within gated residential areas became the most important green space in Chinese cities, and the use of such space might help to r...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Neighbourhood features have been postulated as key predictors of frailty. However, evidence is mainly limited to cross-sectional studies without indication of long-term impact and developmental timing of the exposures. This study explored how neighbourhood social deprivation (NSD) across the life course is associated with frailty and fra...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background Frailty describes a decline in resilience to physical, physiological and emotional stressors, and is linked to increased risk of disability, morbidity and mortality. Neighbourhood features are important risk factors of frailty; however, evidence mainly relies on studies with lack of repeated measurement of neighbourhood. We assessed whet...
Article
Full-text available
The study investigated if rurality, area deprivation, access to outside space (Study 1), and frequency of visiting and duration in green space (Study 2) are associated with mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and examined if individual demographics (age, gender, COVID-19 shielding status) and illness beliefs have a direct association with me...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives To determine if rurality, area deprivation, access to outside space (Study 1) and frequency of visiting and duration in green space (Study 2) are associated with mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.DesignSerial, weekly, nationally representative, cross-sectional, observational study of randomly selected adults in Scotland during J...
Article
Full-text available
Urban population decline has been extensively described as a triggering factor for community segregation and fragmentation, as well as for land use vacancy and house/flat vacancies, resulting in rising interest in strategies of green infrastructure expansion aimed at citizens’ wellbeing and urban ecosystems. However, city-scaled green infrastructur...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Interventions need to be developed in a timely and relatively low-cost manner in order to respond to, and quickly address, major public health concerns. We aimed to quickly develop an intervention to support people with severe mental ill-health, that is systematic, well founded both in theory and evidence, without the support of signif...
Article
Full-text available
This study focuses on the relative importance for resident’s wellbeing of different attributes of the living environment, namely urban typology, population density, green space type, green space quality, community and security, in the context of urban depopulation. The study used conjoint analysis, a methodology for comparing preferences, in three...
Article
Full-text available
Worldwide, growth in the older population creates a pressing need to develop supportive environments that enhance quality of life as people age. Too often, built environments present barriers and challenges to older adults that compromise independent living and adversely affect health and life outcomes. Designing homes, buildings, and neighborhoods...
Article
Full-text available
High prevalence of poor mental health is a major public health problem. Natural environments may contribute to mitigating stress and enhancing health. However, there is little evidence on whether community-level interventions intended to increase exposure to natural environments can improve mental health and related behaviours. In the first study o...
Chapter
Full-text available
Aims and measures in landscape planning often align with aims for positive health outcomes, even if these are not explicitly mentioned in the planning documents. This chapter examines whether, and if so how, health issues are already being tackled in formal and informal landscape planning instruments in Germany and the UK at present and how this co...
Article
Background Contact with natural environments can bring health benefits, but research is lacking on how changes in access to natural environments might improve health, especially for deprived populations. Objective To evaluate the health impacts of woodland environment interventions intended to increase communities’ engagement with these woodlands....
Article
A multitude of studies have demonstrated that individual circumstances throughout life influence subsequent health and well‐being outcomes. The life‐course perspective emphasises that health is affected by the accumulation of social and economic (dis)advantages over an individual's life but, importantly, also that there can be critical periods wher...
Article
Full-text available
Environmental strategies of affect regulation refer to the use of natural and urban socio-physical settings in the service of regulation. We investigated the perceived use and efficacy of environmental strategies for regulation of general affect and sadness, considering them in relation to other affect regulation strategies and to subjective well-b...
Chapter
Among the more common explanatory theories for nature’s impact on health is the potential for stress recovery. Both epidemiological and experimental research have confirmed stress reducing effects of exposure to natural environments. As stress is a major risk factor for many common diseases, particularly mental disorders this indicates that nature...
Article
International evidence suggests that green space has beneficial effects on general and mental health but little is known about how lifetime exposure to green space influences cognitive ageing. Employing a novel longitudinal life course approach, we examined the association between lifetime availability of public parks and cognitive ageing. Lifetime...
Article
Please note that the legend to Fig. 1 has been modified since this article was originally published, and also that in Tables 2, 3 and 4, R[2] was corrected to (the now correct) R squared.
Presentation
Full-text available
Urban green space epidemiological studies increasing report effect sizes for health and wellbeing outcomes stratified by gender, but few studies have specifically investigated gender differences in relationships between green space and health and wellbeing. Differences in the strength and direction of green space effect sizes across population subg...
Article
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This study follows previous research showing how green space quantity and contact with nature (via access to gardens/allotments) helps mitigate stress in people living in deprived urban environments (Ward Thompson et al., 2016). However, little is known about how these environments aid stress mitigation nor how stress levels vary in a population ex...
Data
Many studies have investigated links between amount of green space in the environment and mental health, but only a small number have reported on gender differences in relationships. Male/female differences in relationships between green space quantity (GSQ) and two self-reported measures of mental health – perceived stress (PSS) and mental wellbei...
Article
Full-text available
This research directly assesses older people’s neural activation in response to a changing urban environment while walking, as measured by electroencephalography (EEG). The study builds on previous research that shows changes in cortical activity while moving through different urban settings. The current study extends this methodology to explore pr...
Chapter
Full-text available
Modern urban life style is associated with chronic stress, insufficient physical activity and exposure to anthropogenic environmental hazards. Urban green space, such as parks, playgrounds, and residential greenery, can promote mental and physical health and reduce morbidity and mortality in urban residents by providing psychological relaxation and...
Article
Full-text available
Walking is the most common form of physical activity amongst older adults. Older adults’ walking behaviors have been linked to objective and perceived neighborhood and street-level environmental attributes, such as pavement quality and mixed land uses. To help identify components of walkable environments, this paper examines some of these environme...
Article
Full-text available
Very little is known about how differences in use and perceptions of urban green space impact on the general health of black and minority ethnic (BME) groups. BME groups in the UK suffer from poorer health and a wide range of environmental inequalities that include poorer access to urban green space and poorer quality of green space provision. This...
Article
Peri-urban landscape, space between the rural and urban setting, has generally been seen in planning practice as space in a transient state, likely to be developed in the future. However, research has shown that peri-urban green spaces have increasingly been used for recreational and leisure purposes by urban and rural dwellers.This study aims to e...
Article
Full-text available
Environment-health research has shown significant relationships between the quantity of green space in deprived urban neighbourhoods and people's stress levels. The focus of this paper is the nature of access to green space (i.e., its quantity or use) necessary before any health benefit is found. It draws on a cross-sectional survey of 406 adults i...
Article
Full-text available
We present an approach to exploring the role of environmental supportiveness in contributing to older people's quality of life (QoL), based on Little's ecological model (2010) in which individual and situational factors influence the personal projects of salience to individuals. Personal projects are self-generated and purpose-oriented activities o...
Article
Full-text available
The role of the built environment in facilitating physical activity is well recognised. However, longitudinal studies into the effects of changes to the built environment on levels of activity and quality of life outcomes are lacking, especially for older people. This paper presents results from a longitudinal study of ‘home zone’ style changes to...
Article
Full-text available
Inactive lifestyles have negative health consequences, while time spent sedentary (sitting and lying) is related to morbidity and premature mortality. Older adults often form the most sedentary segment of the population. Much of this behaviour may be practised at home where this group can spend extended periods. Physical activity rates among older...
Article
Full-text available
Falls by older people (aged 65+ years) are linked to disability and a decrease in mobility, presenting a challenge to active ageing. As such, older fallers represent a vulnerable road user group. Despite this, there is little research into the causes and prevention of outdoor falls. This paper develops an understanding of environmental factors that...
Article
Full-text available
This paper describes two case studies from Scotland, UK, exploring links between access to green space, perceptions of and activities in green space, and health and quality of life. One study involved a natural experiment to study the effects of improvements to woodlands near a disadvantaged urban community, compared with a similar community withou...
Chapter
Humans have always had close relationships with forest but since 2005 most people live in cities or urbanised areas. This has profoundly shifted the kind of relationship people have with forests. Instead of being sources of utilitarian products, forests are increasingly valued for their benefits for physical and mental health and wellbeing. Differe...
Article
Green space in the residential environment is associated with a range of health benefits but there is very little evidence on the impacts of environmental interventions in nearby green space on patterns of use, physical activity, or perceptions of the neighbourhood environment. This paper presents the results of a study involving a natural experime...
Article
This paper reviews research into the relationships between attributes of outdoor environments and levels of activity and exercise in populations using those environments. It takes an environmental designer's view of relevant and effective research and research approaches that can provide evidence for policy and practice. The paper has a tripartite...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Physical activity levels and self-report activity diary data recorded during the baseline phase of an environment intervention study (I’DGO TOO) were examined for patterns in activity over time and across activity type. The study involved adults aged 64-95 years living at 9 locations across the UK (8 in England, 1 in Scotland). Physical activity wa...