OPEN SPACE: PEOPLE SPACE
An International Conference on Inclusive Environments
Edinburgh, Scotland: 27–29 October, 2004
OPENspace: the research centre for inclusive access to outdoor
environments, is hosting a three-day conference in Edinburgh to review
recent research and debate current issues surrounding good design for open
space and social inclusion – spaces and places for the 21st century. The
programme will include contributions from an international array of experts
covering the major themes of the conference: children and young people;
disability and social inclusion; health and restorative environments and
tourism and leisure. Key speakers already confirmed include Mark Treib,
architect and modernist landscape historian, Judy Ling Wong, Black
Environment Network, Ken Worpole, urban policy expert and Nilda Cosco,
The conference is being held in Edinburgh, one of Europe’s finest capitals,
with a rich sense of history based around its medieval core and classical,
eighteenth century ‘New Town’ (an ICOMOS World Heritage site). The venue
is The Hub, headquarters for the Edinburgh International Arts Festival,
located in the heart of the city, adjacent to Edinburgh Castle. The lively
city environment includes the renowned Royal Botanic Garden, a rich array
of art galleries, museums and theatres, and the exciting new Scottish
Parliament building designed by Enric Miralles, demonstrating the best of
contemporary design juxtaposed with the traditional. Post-conference visits
will include opportunities to visit the dramatic rural landscapes of the
Highlands and the Borders of Scotland.
Open space: People Space
Accessible outdoor spaces are places people can use and enjoy, regardless
of background, age or economic status. Inclusive access to high quality
public spaces is therefore a cornerstone of democracy and social equity.
Inclusive access is at the forefront of good planning and design today, and
is central to government priorities in Britain to improve people’s quality
of life. It is at the heart of programmes for urban renaissance and for
revitalising the tourist industry in town and countryside. Good open space
design has implications for health, safety and crime reduction. The
implementation of UK disability discrimination legislation, which comes
fully into force in 2004, has emphasised the need to widen access for all
people and to address users’ needs directly.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
Academics and researchers, policy makers, designers, planners, managers and
students are encouraged to attend. The conference will be of value to the
design professions, social and environmental scientists, and those working
in the social services, recreation and tourism, health care and community
Space to Grow: making space for children and young people
Modern urban living places many restrictions on children’s freedom to
explore and enjoy their environment. Topics under this theme will embrace
a range of issues from the benefits of natural environments for pre-school
child development to aspects of autonomy and social identity in teenage
experience of outdoor places.
Design for All: making space for social inclusion
People’s perceptions of accessibility in the outdoor environment will
determine the success or otherwise of practical measures. It is important
to understand the psychological as well as the physical dimensions of
access, whether the focus is on older people, disabled people, minority
ethnic groups or the public as a whole. One major disincentive to people
using open space is anxiety about personal safety: fear of accidents, fear
of crime, fear of getting lost. Topics here will include design for
outdoor environments so that people feel confident and feel safe.
Healthy Places: making space to improve quality of life
Many studies have argued that being out in the landscape, whether in a city
park, a town square or a countryside setting, is potentially good for
people’s health. The landscape can play a vital rôle as a “restorative”
place, where people get away from stress, relate to natural seasons and
elements and experience physical and psychological wellbeing as a result.
Topics under this theme will include the value and accessibility of nature
on people’s doorsteps as well as issues of healthy lifestyles in relation
to the broader environment.
Tourist Places: making space for leisure and recreation
Developments in the tourist industry are focused on maximising the number
of visitors who can access different environments in ways that are
enjoyable and which do not damage the very qualities those visitors wish to
experience. This applies equally to town and countryside, to provision for
local people and for international visitors. It has a particular impact on
historic and environmentally sensitive environments. Topics here will
include methods for high quality, inclusive landscape and urban design
which is appropriate to local character and sense of place.
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS
Submission guidelines for papers, symposia, workshops and posters
We invite proposals for presentation at the Open Space: People Space
Conference in October 2004 in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. We welcome proposals
on topics relating to inclusive outdoor environments and to the main
thematic areas of the conference:
FORM OF PRESENTATIONS
Abstracts are invited for presentations of four types: individual papers;
symposia of several papers gathered under a topic by a symposium chair;
workshops involving discussion round a topic introduced by a group of
experts; and posters.
Proposals for symposia or workshops must be prepared by someone who takes
responsibility for gathering contributors and getting their agreement to
participate, and who will prepare the abstract and chair the session.
FORMAT FOR ABSTRACTS
Authors who wish their proposals to be considered for presentation should
submit an abstract in anonymous format suitable for peer review.
All abstracts should be submitted electronically, either as an e-mail
Microsoft Word document attachment with suffix .DOC to the OPENspace
research centre’s email address [log in to unmask] or submitted online by
visiting our website www.openspace.eca.ac.uk (hyperlink soon to be
The Abstract should be in English, using Arial Font 12-point, and fit on
one, A4 sheet of paper. It should set out:
1. Presentation Title
2. A succinct and informative abstract of no more than 400 words. Up to
four key references may be included beyond this word length.
The abstract must NOT include the author's name - all contact information
should be included in the body of the email or on a separate document,
which should indicate the author(s) and affiliation(s) including postal
address, e-mail address and fax number for contact.
Submissions must identify the type of presentation – Paper, Symposium,
Workshop or Poster.
Abstracts are due for submission by 16th February 2004
E-mail submissions are preferred ([log in to unmask])
PEER-REVIEW AND PUBLICATION
Every abstract will be blind-reviewed by at least two reviewers and all
those accepted will be published in the conference proceedings.
Authors of papers and symposia which are accepted for the conference will
be invited to expand their abstracts into short papers (max 2000 words) for
inclusion in the conference proceedings (authors of workshops and posters
will only have their abstracts published). Authors of accepted papers and
symposia will be notified of the detailed requirements for submitting short
papers by the end of March 2004 and summary papers must be received by 31st
After the conference, selected presenters will be invited to prepare full
length papers for consideration as contributions to a post-conference book
around the major themes of the conference. These papers will be subject to
a further review and editorial process.
A design competition for students will be announced in 2003: the winning
entries will be displayed at the conference.
The Conference Sponsors
OPENspace Research Centre is based at the School of Landscape Architecture
at Edinburgh College of Art and the School of the Built Environment at
Heriot-Watt University. Over the last two years, the work of OPENspace has
focused on the fundamental issues surrounding access, quality of life and
social inclusion as well as the development and review of practical guides
Partners in the conference include IPA, the International Play Association,
and the City of Edinburgh Council, who will be hosting workshops within the
For further information or to be added to our mailing list, please e-mail
[log in to unmask] or telephone +44 131 221 6177. Website