Professor Simon Bell Associate Director of the OPENspace Research Centre, University of Edinburgh
Simon Bell was originally a forester and took a master degree in landscape architecture. He worked for 20 years in the British Forestry Commission, where he specialised in forest landscape planning and design and also outdoor recreation planning and design. He has also worked in the USA, Canada, Europe and Russia as a consultant on large scale forestry and recreation planning and design projects. In 1999 he moved into academia as a researcher, where together with Professors Catharine Ward Thompson and Peter Aspinall he founded the OPENspace Research Centre at Edinburgh College of Art, now part of the University of Edinburgh. OPENspace has since developed a reputation for research into the relationship between people and the landscape and access to outdoor environments, most recently in the area of landscape and health and quality of life. Simon was the social science coordinator in the FP6 project PLUREL where he led the part devoted to quality of life indicators, developing a simulation model. Research and practice led him to projects in the Baltic States and thus to Estonia where he has been teaching and researching since 2005, taking over as head of department in 2009. He teaches courses about outdoor recreation planning and design and other larger-scale landscape issues and supervises many master and PhD students from a wide range of countries. In 2012 he was elected president of ECLAS, the European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools. Simon Bell has written many papers and books. Two of these, “Elements of Visual design in the Landscape” and “Design for Outdoor Recreation” have become standard texts all over the world. OPENspace has also produced two edited books about research into landscape, outdoor activity and health.