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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume II, Wellbeing and the Environment by Elizabeth Burton, Rachel Cooper, Cary L. Cooper

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17

Environmental Interaction and Engagement

Supporting Wellbeing

Richard Coles

Birmingham City University, U.K.

Introduction

The material presented in this chapter draws upon a long period of experience and underpinning research, with which the author has been closely involved, that looked at specific aspects of environmental interaction covering a range of situations varying from urban to rural, in various countries, and with different participants. When put together it gives some greater clarity regarding the ways that individuals interact with the environment and how this interaction impacts upon people's lives. In relation to wellbeing, such interaction either supports or detracts from (or does nothing for) the quality of life of citizens. In essence, this material gives an indication of how these interactions support individual wellbeing. The reference to the individual here is deliberate as throughout these studies it has become increasingly clear that wellbeing has to be explored in relation to the individual to take account of the unique qualities of the interaction that is occurring and the way that it is processed by the individual; that is, the ways that a given interaction is tagged with a specific meaning. There is a reality that in interpreting the environment, personal experience, which includes the sum of all the experiences to which one is exposed, will make a major impact upon our perceptions of different environments. The fact that others have different views ...

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