14th International Conference on Urban Health / Coimbra, PT, 26-29 Sep 2017

NeuroLandscape wholeheartedly embraces a multi-disciplinary approach, so it is quite challenging to establish one discipline which we most represent, one type of a scientific journal to publish in, or one area of conferences to participate in. Believe me when it comes to choosing keywords for our studies or key areas of expertise, it is even more challenging!


Fortunately things are changing and new approaches emerge around the world that look in the same direction as us and welcome multiple methods. One such initiative is this conference. Participation in the conference has made us realize how important the topics of urban health are right now—not so much to academic community, but rather to urban governing bodies and public health entities.

Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo, our delegate to the conference, participated in the one day brainstorming and workshop on “How to implement and scale up community best solutions for improving urban health “

It definitely was a chance to network with experts from around the world on what currently is being done, and can be done in the future, in order to improve and scale up community initiative for urban health.

Despite the great concern for the mental health problems that todays’ cities are challenged with, most scientific methods applied to this issue are almost entirely limited to self-reported surveys and questionnaires. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with these methods, using only this approach can be somewhat limiting, because social and cultural conventions influence how likely someone is to self-report symptoms of mental illness to an interviewer. Moreover, studies often report that depression among the poorest in society is not as severe simply because respondents tend to associate their problems more with their poverty when there are many other factors that may be at play, such as their physical environment [link].

At NeuroLandscape we provide an alternative to the self-reported approach, which is continuously improved upon. Instead of asking people about their mental health, we want to "ask" their brains, giving us a chance to capture the most subtle nuances of their perception that they may not even be aware of...

Our delegate gave a speech on Window View and the Brain Can Floor Level and Amount of Green within the View Have any Effect on Our Well-Being? to present the findings from a recent EEG experiment undertaken within the Biophilic Town Project at NUS Singapore. The presentation was met with great interest, which shows that the traditional methods of self mental-health assessment can already be challenged.

To sum up, it was a great conference, NeuroLandscape has found its people and the box where it fits (or rather a corridor connecting multiple boxes together)! We are very excited and looking forward to more events like this one!


Why NeuroLandscape and not Neuro-Landscape?

Besides aesthetical preference, the decision to avoid the hyphenated gap between ‘neuro’ and ‘landscape’ is a subtle nod to the philosophy of our organization. Inclusion of the hyphen could suggest that the activities of the brain and the surrounding landscape need to be forcefully brought together, whereas the mind and its physical environment are in constant interaction, whether the individual is actively aware of this fact or not. Although the hyphen could also be viewed, and rightfully so, as a bridge between two distinct disciplines (neuroscience and landscape design), we prefer to focus on the holistic nature of the subject of our research.

“Axons” by Jackie Dunne retrieved from


Recent studies by our team and countless others continue to confirm and explore how much impact the physical environment has on our mental cognition, which, in turn, greatly influences our health and wellbeing. Our neural activity and the surrounding environment would rather have to be forcefully separated than forcefully brought together. Although neuroscience and landscape design have been kept separate as academic disciplines, it would be difficult to suggest that their primary subjects of study, the brain and the landscape, should be divided and kept at a distance from each other.

Therefore, we have removed the hyphen to clearly show how close and inextricably linked the concepts of ‘neuro’ and ‘landscape’ are in the real world. We will continue to strive to bridge the gap between seemingly unrelated disciplines through formal research while increasing the public’s understanding and engagement on this issue for the benefit of everyone’s mental health and wellbeing. To achieve these ends, our blending of neuroscience and landscape design will benefit from the tools developed in the computer sciences, specifically in the field of artificial intelligence. Computer-generated neural networks will help us better understand how the brain reacts to the environment and will be used to quickly analyze and advise on the quality of a landscape design in terms of its positive impact on our mental health.

Through the synergy of these three disciplines, we seek to overcome the inherent weaknesses of a single-minded expertise that fails to see the forest for the trees. Experts from each discipline on our team will contribute and communicate their own necessarily-biased perspective on the research. This interdisciplinary approach will lead, and has already led, to insights and discoveries that simply would not be possible if each person remained tucked away in their own office or lab. NeuroLandscape strives not to see the world in black and white, but rather intends to harness the kaleidoscope of colors that is interdisciplinary research. Scientific breakthroughs and a deeper understanding of the world around us are created through the nuanced blending of the complete palette of colors at our disposal. This ideal is at the heart of NeuroLandscape and we hope to do our small part to contribute to the betterment of the places where we live.

_by Raul Guizzo