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Urban Land Institute/Health Leaders Network

In early 2021 our Board Member and Lead researcher Dr Diana Benjumea was selected to join a prestigious  Health Leaders Network initiated by the Urban Land Institute (ULI). Health Leaders Network is a platform aimed at sharing knowledge and ideas with health leaders across continents. It gathers professionals across the globe with the skills and knowledge to generate impact and help improve health outcomes in their professional practice with the communities.

Among multiple activities on the 09th of June 2021, the group presentation session features Dr Diana's presentation titled Networks of Nature: Designing for harmonious interactions in tangible and intangible ‘spaces’. In it, she introduces NeuroLandscape and some of the work and research projects she has conducted in different countries aimed at investigating the confounding variables that affect the eudemonic health and well-being of urban residents.

Additionally, she explored how the solutions taken in urban spaces in Singapore to promote health (e.g., green infrastructure) can also introduce negative responses from urban residents that are not adapted to coexist with a more biodiverse urban space.

A conceptual model (Nature place-making) abstracted from our scientific explorations unveils the main underlying social/design components needed to promote harmonious coexistence with nature in heavily urbanised cities.

 

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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!

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International Conference on Control and Automation, Athens, Greece

The first public presentation of the prototype of the Contemplative Landscapes Automated Scoring System (CLASS) was presented by our research team on the international IEEE conference in Athens, Greece between 21 and 24 of June.

Watch a short report from this event and listen to the lecture given by our leading artificial intelligence and machine learning consultant Theophrastos Mantadelis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24EOhp_H0VQ&t=2s

2016-05-05

Finals of the National Business Plan Competition, iUP25k, University of Porto

Neuro-Landscape in the Finals of the National Business Plan Competition!

As the idea of Neuro-Landscape and how it may serve people emerged, we felt a need of confronting it with the reality of the market. This is why we took part in the Business Plan competition organized by the University of Porto for its alumni students.

The competition iUP25k is organized every year since 2013 and besides the competition itself offers support with the development of the business idea, presentation and networking.

We went through all stages of evaluation of proposals, and got to the Finals!
We were invited to the first pitch session at the University of Porto. After successfully passing this stage we were invited to 2-day workshop in order to polish the sharp edges of our business model, prepare the product, and set up the most important milestones for future. After that we took part in the “Pitch me up” workshop in order to prepare the best possible finals pitch.

We received a lot of feedback and suggestions from people that are for many years deeply rooted in business scene in Portugal but also internationally, who know the theory and practice. The final pitch took place in a iconic “Casa do Infante” in Porto Old city center. The link to the pitch video below:

While waiting for the final verdict we summed up all the reflections collected during the process. All in all, our idea does not fit in the competitive rat race of business world, it is rather an idea of sharing our knowledge, of how to inform people to make their life easier, and promote solutions for mental health issues.

That is why regardless of what the final verdict will be, Neuro-Landscape will never be a profit- oriented enterprise but rather a non-profit, pro publico bono organization.

We still value and appreciate the experience gained during the iUP25k competition, going through all the stages, and meeting wonderful people there. We are glad and honored that our idea got to the top finals!!

Watch promotional video

SBE 26 Fev 2016

The Landscapes and the Brain Seminar, Vairão, Portugal, 2016

The latest seminar on the results of 5-year long studies on the contemplative landscapes and how do they influence the brain activity. Results of the experiment first time revealed in public in CIBIO Research Center, Vairão, Portugal.
A very exciting moment for a PhD candidate (A.Olszewska) to present the findings of her doctoral research to wider public. This has happened at the CiBiO research center in the campus located north from Porto city.

During 1 hour seminar public could hear in detail about all of the methods and procedures as well as the findings from the 4 year research on “Contemplative Values of Urban Parks and gardens: Applying Neuroscience to Landscape Architecture”.

In the Q&A session a lot of interesting questions was posed, and also a lot of suggestions and ideas of how to apply the discovered matters were shared. Definitely a very interesting session that deserved to be recorded.

Watch the video from the seminar

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Beyond Architecture: New Intersections and Connections Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, 2014

The research on “Urban Planning, Neuroscience and Contemplation for improving well-being in our cities” was presented on the conference, and published in the Architectural Research Centers Consortium Journal.

 Multidisciplinary conferences, joining the design and architecture with multiple disciplines, including art and rigorous science aren’t very frequent. This special event was held at the beautifully located University of Honolulu, Hawaii, and attracted many interesting scientists from around the world.

In the paper presentation we described the outcomes of the pilot experiment, that served as a proof of concept that these kind of studies are feasible and adequate to perform in any universities. Findings of this paper set ground for our further research, and participation in this conferences proved that the scientific world is welcoming to extending the knowledge in landscape architecture and neuroscience fields.

Link to the online paper in Journal of Architecture Research Centers Consortium - ARCC