ConstructiveConversations Engage • Inspire • Learn PfE

Strengthening Social Connections

By Design Constructive Conversations – 19 March 2024.

This session focused on strengthening social connections by design. How does the design of our streets and public spaces foster, or discourage social connections? Do benches reduce social isolation and enhance wellbeing? and does more social connection within a community mean higher resilience?

Our expert panel spent half an hour discussing these questions and more around how urban design can increase social connections, and therefore result in better well being for people living in our communities.

Following watching the recording you may find it useful to take a few minutes to reflect on the discussion.

  • What is still circling around in your head on this topic?
  • What do you feel is ‘squared away’ – you feel you have a much clearer understanding of?
  • What key takeaways or highlights do you have from the discussion?

Feedback Survey

We would appreciate you taking a moment to complete our short feedback survey after you’ve watched the recording.

Further Information

The panelists for this session were:

Useful Links and Resources

For further information on working with young people, please see the work Sustrans have been doing with A Place in Childhood –

For further information on intergenerational placemaking:

Secured by Design (SBD) is the official police security initiative that is owned by the UK Police Service with the specific aim to reduce crime and help people live more safely. The site includes various guides and resources, as well a UK wide network of Designing out Crime Officers.

The Schools Health and Wellbeing Improvement Research Network (SHINE) can also help you to connect with young people in project areas – they have a newsletter where opportunities for schools to get involved in projects can be advertised if the project clearly demonstrates benefits for the school community and aims to support positive health outcomes for young people – this can include provision of spaces aiming to improve physical and mental wellbeing, for example by encouraging young people to be more active, or by providing safe space for people of all ages to socialise and feel safe. If you are working in a Local Authority, your Education or Learning and Development teams are likely to already be linked in with SHINE and may also be able to assist with this process.

SHINE website

Projects can also apply for SHINE affiliated status – A member of the SHINE team would meet with affiliated project teams to support you to find/connect with a school or Local Authority (if you are a community or public sector organisation) who would be interested to engage with you. However, this is a longer process than promotion via the newsletter – the application is reviewed by a panel to ensure that it demonstrates mutual benefit for the school.

Details here on the website:

About Constructive conversations

Grab a cuppa, get comfortable and join us for some informal constructive conversations about some of the challenges in delivering active travel infrastructure.

At each 1 hour session, our expert panel will spend half an hour discussing key questions and more around the chosen topic. Following this, you can take part in an optional small group discussion where you can share your own experiences on the topic, present a related issue in a live project, and receive advice and feedback from peers.

Other sessions

The ‘By Design’ series of constructive conversations explores how urban design in active travel projects can help to address some of the big issues facing society today.

The Climate Emergency and Infrastructure series of constructive conversations explores sustainability in construction of active travel projects.

Look out for more series on different topics in future, and if there is a topic you would like to suggest for a series, or a standalone session, please do get in touch with us