A research project that aims to find out more about how Sheffield’s natural environment can improve the health and wellbeing of city residents has launched a new website. http://iwun.uk
The Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN) project is a three-year research project awarded £1.3m by the Natural Environment Research Council’s Valuing Nature Programme.
It aims to find out more about how Sheffield’s natural environment can improve the health and wellbeing of the city’s residents, and especially those with disproportionately high levels of poor health.
The project, led by Dr Anna Jorgensen from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape, brings academics from the universities of Sheffield, Derby, and Heriot-Watt together with the Wildlife Trusts, Recovery Enterprises and the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare.
The researchers plan to use a range of methods, including a specially designed smartphone app, to investigate people’s relationships with Sheffield’s parks and green spaces.
Project lead Dr Anna Jorgensen said: “this project will develop a more nuanced understanding of the distribution of urban natural environments and health inequalities. We aim to understand the cultures and values that influence how people of different ages and backgrounds interact with the natural environment as well as find out more about which aspects of the natural environment are beneficial for health and wellbeing. The aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of city residents through well designed green spaces.”
Although it is already well known that spending time in natural spaces is good for people, the project will investigate which particular features of green space – their design, location, biodiversity or other features – boost people’s health and personal enjoyment.
To determine the ways in which natural environments could play a significant part in the UK’s future healthcare arrangements, the project will also develop a method to measure their cost-effectiveness.
Dr Jorgensen added: “this project is a great opportunity to work collaboratively with the health sector and those responsible for the planning, design and management of urban green spaces. We want to make this research as relevant and useful as possible and I’d really like to build relationships with those working in relevant organisations.”
To find out more visit the IWUN website: http://iwun.uk or contact Aisling Cooling: firstname.lastname@example.org
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