The built environment

The ‘Spaces of opportunity’ theme is about how people move through a service - quite literally, in the case of entrance ways, rooms and corridors - and also more metaphorically, in the networks, pathways and 'service eco-systems' that we create, for users to come to any service by, or to move on to.


The built environment and it's 'social spaces'

We have moved on a long way from simply looking simply at the physical condition, up-keep and repair, of a building.

That is, originally, when suggesting the term PIE, we had spoken of the built environment, though we had included in that its ‘social spaces ‘ – meaning by that, that it is not just the nature and physical condition of the buildings we use, but also the messages it conveys; and all the opportunities that the design and layout of the building offers for establishing a better relationship with the users.

Signage; colour; sound; reception and other shared areas, corridors, and more obviously ‘social’ spaces such as dining rooms, TV rooms, and similar.  In the `Case studies’  (HERE), we have a number of examples of changes that some services have made – often at almost no cost - that have made a noticeable difference.

These may help to spark the imagination; and there are also a couple of very useful checklists that you will find in the Library that can point towards areas that might benefit from some attention. Plus in the case studies we have various examples of the use or adaptation of the buildings in a service.

But this did not really cover many of the other crucial relationships, and the spaces of one kind of another. There also needs to be some consideration of the role that any one building may play in an integrated range of services.   This might include move-on accommodation, or for more long-term support; or Clubhouse or ‘hub and spoke’ or ‘core and cluster’ models, with their mixture of independence with flexibly available long-term support. Or it might include the deliberate co-location of several support services in one building or complex – not just for the convenience, but also because it can ease issues of confidentiality.

Meanwhile, there will be many other, more loosely connected services and surroundings that any service may consciously use, and work with, but are outside the immediate control of the service. This area is huge, and hugely valuable. So, to allow a more specific focus on this, within the space of opportunity theme we have created a separate area (HERE) for exploration of all this : the 'surroundings and networks' element. The forum video on 'embedding from top to toe' (HERE) also includes these areas.


Further background reading/listening/viewing


Designing, engaging, thinking differently : HERE

Case studies and practice examples : HERE

Design resources for homelessness website : HERE

Trauma informed design (PIElink forum) : HERE


Library items

(NB: some items here are currently inaccessible online, through a technical fault. To access specific papers, please contact the editorial team)

Well-being by design: transferability of design concepts for health to community settings: HERE

Well-being by design -  the questions you might askHERE

A checklist of Trauma informed Care principles in built environment design : HERE

  • Trauma informed design (DRH follow up with illustrations) : HERE

The engagement window and the safe couch : HERE

Rethinking the building at the Wallich : HERE

Simon Community's Access Hub, Glasgow : HERE


Psychological awareness ; HERE

  • Empathy and emotional intelligence : HERE
  • Approaches and techniques : HERE
  • Psychological models : HERE

Training and support : HERE

Learning and enquiry : HERE

  • Reflective practice : HERE
  • A culture of Enquiry : HERE
  • Sector engagement : HERE
  • Evidence- generating practice : HERE

Spaces of opportunity : HERE

  • The built environment : HERE
  • Networks and surroundings : HERE
  • Pathways, systems and system coherence : HERE

The Three Rs : HERE

  • Rules and procedures : HERE
  • Roles and relationships : HERE
  • Responsiveness : HERE


Where are relationships in PIEs 2.0? : HERE

A lived experience view of PIEs : HERE

What's the Big Idea?  : HERE

From PIEs 1 to PIEs 2.0 : HERE

Will there be a PIEs 3? : HERE

Responsiveness : HERE