Ms Mel Cairns

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  • Qualifications:BA (Hons) Women's Studies with Sociological Studies, MSc Sustainable Development in Practice
  • Position:PGR Researcher
  • Department:School of Architecture and Environment
  • Telephone:+44117 965 6261

About me

I've been a Postgraduate Researcher at the Centre for Transport and Society at UWE since October 2023. I completed my Masters in Sustainable Development in Practice at UWE in 2021.

In the interim, I have contributed to several research and measurement projects including:

- A qualitative investigation of people's writing about their careers in relation to their values, for Common Cause Foundation.

- Several rapid evidence assessments for Centre for Thriving Places, covering topics including rural wellbeing, evaluating social capital outcomes, financial wellbeing and the impact of COVID-19 on wellbeing inequalities.

- I have also led on two annual updates to the Thriving Places Index.

My research interests include planetary wellbeing, values, nature connectedness and active travel. My dissertation topic exploring potential relationships between cycling and nature paved the way for my PhD project.

Little is known in the published literature about the people, places and experiences that intersect in the practice of cycling in natural environments. My project will seek to address this research gap, going beyond generic understandings of green exercise to answer more specific questions using mixed methods. Who cycles in nature, what are their characteristics and experiences and what sorts of places and conditions are necessary for one to experience 'green cycling'?

Cycling and nature connection are both seen in many quarters as desirable activities with untapped potential to improve public health and wellbeing and reduce environmentally damaging activities. The project aims to build understanding of practices in which these two elements interact in order to contribute usefully towards efforts to promote them. 

Area of expertise

- Nature connectedness and active mobilities

- Rapid evidence assessments

- Place-based wellbeing frameworks and measurement


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