Well cities: implementing a wellbeing valuation toolkit for urban learning


Whilst extensive attention had been directed to energy efficiency in the urban building environment, health and wellbeing remain central to the agenda for sustainable and resilient cities. Wellbeing is increasingly being recognised as an important benefit for end users but there is still a great deal to learn about the impact of urban design on wellbeing, how to capture its subjective nature, and how to design for the achievement of wellbeing outcomes.

Aims and objectives

People sat on sofas in a modern living space.
  • To refine a wellbeing valuation toolkit for urban environment s in order to capture and evidence the financial case for good design.
  • To implement the wellbeing valuation toolkit across a range of building types, including commercial offices, health centres, university buildings and retail spaces, and urban spaces, including green infrastructure and the public realm.
  • To produce an evidence base to demonstrate the commercial potential of wellbeing valuation to strategic urban decision-makers.


A multi-item scale will be applied to produce a quantitative wellbeing score for each case site. Social Return on Investment (SROI) will be used to place a financial valuation on the results to form a wellbeing valuation evidence base. The toolkit and collated evidence base will be used to disseminate the commercial potential of wellbeing valuation in the urban built environment and demonstrate its practical implementation in buildings and the public realm in cities.

Benefits to University of Manchester and external partners

The project provides the external partners with an evidence base for wellbeing valuation in the built environment and public realm and demonstrates its potential as a commercial toolkit driving dissemination across commercial, public and third sectors in the UK.

Expected outputs

  • Database of quantitative wellbeing scores
  • Evidence base of wellbeing scores and wellbeing valuations
  • Toolkit for implementation of wellbeing valuation

Expected outcomes and impact

  • Collaborators can evidence and disseminate the value of their buildings/urban design
  • Dissemination to collaborators about the value of wellbeing valuation and its implementation
  • Collaborators can disseminate knowledge through their networks

External partners

  • Arup
  • British Council for Offices
  • Feeling Good Foundation
  • Grigoriou Interiors Ltd
  • Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres
  • Manchester City Council

The 12 month project began in February 2017 and is funded by the ESRC Impact Accelerator Account.  It is led by Professor James Evans and Dr Kelly Watson.

Further information