Understanding how gardens make us happy…

I am a psychologist currently studying for a part-time PhD in Environmental Psychology at the University of Surrey, with the support of the RHS at Wisley. My PhD is looking at what features of an environment make it perceived as more or less natural, and how this relates to a garden’s design.

Being surrounded by nature can significantly improve well-being and has been shown by psychologists to help hospital patients recover faster. I use my findings from psychology to design gardens that keep us happy and productive.


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Emma with fellow award winners, Elena Cadel & Federica Pallavicini - image courtesy of Barilla

Talks on psychology and gardening…

I regularly give talks on psychology and gardening, speaking at conferences in Zurich, Rome and across the UK. I am available for talks to garden designers, gardeners, and psychologists. Please email me if you would like any more information.

Publications and reports that I’ve written…

White, E. and Gatersleben, B. (2011). Greenery on Residential Buildings: Does it affect preferences and perceptions of beauty? Journal of Environmental Psychology, 31(1), 89-98.

Uzzell, D., Gatersleben, B. & White, E. (2010). Using the Life Histories Approach to understand the development of outdoor preferences and practices. Report for the Outdoors and Health Network, ESRC grant no. RES-355-25-0040.

Gatersleben, B. White, E. Abrahamse, W. Jackson, T. & Uzzell, D. (2010). Values and sustainable lifestyles. In: Roaf, S. (Ed) (2010). Transforming Markets in the Built Environment: Adapting for Climate Change, Earthscan Publications Ltd. April.

Gatersleben, B. White, E. Abrahamse, W. Jackson, T. and Uzzell, D. (2010). Values and sustainable lifestyles, Architectural Science Review, 53, 1–14.

White, E., D. Uzzell, N. Räthzel and B. Gatersleben (2010). Using Life Histories in Psychology: A Methodological Guide, RESOLVE Working Paper Series, 01-10, University of Surrey, February 2010.

Gatersleben, B. and White, E. (2010). EU report: Barenergy WP5. Trust in government across 7 European countries: examining the relationship with values and behavioural antecedents.

Gatersleben, B., White, E., Abrahamse, W., Jackson, T., and Uzzell, D. (2009). Materialism and Environmental Concern. Examining Values and Lifestyle Choices among Participants of the 21st Century Living Project. RESOLVE Working Paper Series, 01-09, University of Surrey, June 2009.