A speech presented during the "Conscious Warsaw - Sensing our City" webinar organized by the Center for Conscious Design, which took place on October 22, 2020, in Polish (English subtitles available in this video!).
Dr. Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo presented a new concept of designing mentally healthy cities based on contact with salutogenic natural landscapes (Contemplative Landscapes) and introduced the scientific background and activities of her NGO.
The entire webinar is available on https://theccd.org/domain/conscious-warsaw/
The built environment and mental health of the residents within the city are extremely interconnected. Daily exposures are known to influence psychological processes, having both known and unknown consequences. The study of Gary W. Evans from 2003 points out that personal control, social support and restoration from stress and fatigue in the physical environment directly impacts mental health. He also points out the need for evidence-based studies and methods. “Mind Monitoring” is a method to consider in such studies, as this makes bringing out evidence easier.
Unfortunately, our knowledge of the relation between mind and physical environment, especially in developing countries, is very little. Technology to conduct cross-sectional scientific studies is one of the biggest impedances.
A lot of devices are making our day to day lives easier, productive and entertaining in innumerous ways. But these are the tools that have the potential to be used in mind monitoring. They make research on environmental impacts on minds more affordable.
EEG a Mind Monitoring method
EEG stands for electroencephalogram. It is a test to find out and monitor the electrical activity of the brain using various noninvasive electrodes placed across the scalp. EEG electrodes pick up the electrical activity in the user’s brain. And then the collected signals are amplified and digitized and sent to a computer or mobile device for storage and data processing. Recently, these tests have been made affordable with new designs and exploring ways to use smartphones.
Some recent EEG devices
NeuroSky launched quite a number of second-generation products, such as MindWave, MindWave Mobile, MindWave Mobile Plus and MindWave Mobile 2. Mindwave Mobile 2 is the most affordable brainwave reading EEG headset. These devices are used in games, education, wellness, research and development.
Emotiv products achieved better performance and wider scalp coverage by using a higher number of channels and wet electrodes. This caused Emotiv products to have a more complicated set-up and higher price tag. Some Emotiv products are Insight, EPOC X, MN8 etc. They can provide easy-to-understand feedback on the level of stress and distraction to improve workplace wellness, safety and productivity.
Muse is a meditation facilitating device that comes along with a mobile application. Muse 2, Muse S are available having a lot of features. Provides real-time feedback on user’s brain activity, heart rate, breathing and body movements
Some other devices, such as: MyndPlay MyndBand, Aurora Dreamband, FocusBand, Neeuro SenzeBand work with various mind monitoring activities. For example: empowering users to train their brains to improve attention, meditation skills, for better sleep, dream clarity etc.
MindWave Mobile 2
Still in production
349.00 (Ultracortex Mark IV)
399.00 (Electrode Cap)
The researchers and practitioners of developing countries like Bangladesh or Colombia are not much aware of these EEG solutions. Most of the time the price range would still be unaffordable. But the products provided by NeuroSky, interaXon and MyndPlay are comparatively less costly and can be affordable for the research and mental health practitioners in Bangladesh.
Summing up, affordable technologies for mind monitoring are now rising. And a displayable number of multidisciplinary collaborative research and experiments in this sector will increase their potential to a great extent!
Dr Diana Benjumea gave a speech regarding architecture and urban planning, where she sets a new paradigm of bottom-up, evidence-based urban design. Moreover, she introduces NeuroLandscape projects and explains the global implications of the emerging shift in thinking and approaching urban space.
The entire speech and Q&A session are available on youtube! English subtitles coming soon!
Webinar will be held in Polish language, but the recording from it will be translated to English and avaiable after the event
The imagination of urban and landscape designers and architects has been captured by the idea that we read spaces as we read books. However, we have been witnessing a paradigm shift in the cultural world: we are moving from semiotics towards perception and landscapes are becoming sensescapes. Contemporary cities don’t always enable us a multimodal experience of space, they are not always designed with human scale in mind, they don’t always consider our biological and psychological needs. What is the ultimate meaning of human-centred spaces? Is it that in future urban and architectural decisions could be influenced by interdisciplinary teams including specialists who understand the complexity of human perception and cognition?
Sensing Our City is organized to discuss some of the topics around how people experience space and how it affects their attitudes, behaviours, health and wellbeing.
Dr Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo (NeuroLandscape, National University of Singapore)
Michal Matlon (The LivingCore)
Asst. Prof. Dr. Karolina M. Zielinska-Dabkowska (Gdańsk University of Technology)
Dominika Sadowska (Divercity+)
Beata Patuszyńska (City for Children)
Anna Kotowska (Jaz+Architekci)
Magda Gawron (Proptech Foundation)
Waldemar Olbryk (Echo Investment SA)
Anna Petroff-Skiba (Warsaw City Hall)
Przemyslaw Zakrzewski (ABB)
Karolina Konecka (ARCATURE SA)
Joanna Erbel ('Blisko' Foundation, Warsaw City Hall)
Nour Tawil (Max Planck Institute for Human Development)
The video from the webinar is already available on! The webinar organized by the International School Grounds Alliance and the Children &Nature Network on how school grounds can be designed and used to support took place on June 23rd 2020, and featured research and design insights on how to design mentally healthy outdoor spaces for children.
Everyone interested in design for children will find a lot of inspiration in this video, in other words it's a must-see! We are very proud and grateful that NeuroLandscape could be a part of this insightful panel!
The program featured:
an introduction to the ISGA activity by Kerry Logan;
showcasing international best-practice examples, by Kathrin Schmiele;
research and design lessons from neuroscience by Dr Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo;
strategies for the design of schoolyards for students Claire Latané.
The content will cover an introduction by Jaime Zaplatosch; and the work of ISGA by Kerry Logan; I will emphasize the importance of the topic and present a video showcasing international best-practice examples, followed by a presentation on the lessons from the neuroscience research by NeuroLandscape President Dr. Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo , finalized by a presentation on design strategies that reduce stress and anxiety and boost mental health and community by Claire Latané.
At the end we will have a Q&A session and an exciting DRAW together exercise!
In Yuval Harari’s book Home Deus, he states that the greatest leaps in human progress were not simply the result of individual acts. Instead, the greatest leaps have been the result of our ability as a species to cooperate in large numbers.
Join us for an insightful conversation about how breakthroughs in neuroscience have led us to better understand how the brain functions when we’re faced with perspectives that are different from our own. By understanding how our brain works we can better understand each other, improve our ability to work together, and more effectively solve humanity’s most pressing urban challenges.
Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo is the Founder & President of NeuroLandscape, a non-profit dedicated to improving mental health and wealth-being through green space design. With a Ph.D. from the University of Porto in Landscape Architecture and Urban Ecology, alongside experience developing numerous research projects worldwide, Agnieszka possesses a unique understanding of how urban design impacts the human brain.
Maria Escobar-Bordyn is the Vice President of Creating WE, an organization that coaches CEO's on the importance of conversations in shaping corporate culture and achieving goals. After spending her early career on HR teams in two Fortune 100 companies, Maria spent 12 years at a global human performance consulting firm where she coached hundreds of hundreds of executives. She has a degree in Social Ecology with a concentration in human behaviour from the University of California, Irvine.
Mitchell Reardon is the Lead for Urban Planning, Design & Experiments at Happy City. Happy City is an interdisciplinary urban planning and design consultancy that uses the science of wellbeing to create healthier, happier and more inclusive communities. Mitchell is also the co-founder of Metropolitan Collective, a group of tactical urbanists who transform unloved and overlooked spaces. He received his Masters of Science in Urban and Regional Planning at Stockholm University and his insights have been heard on CBC News, StarMetro, CBC Radio and more.
The mission of the Conference is to stimulate research, implementation and scaling up innovations to manage health and wellbeing of the ageing population. BFHA 2020 is a scientific conference that will enable discussion on the transformation of health and care services into more digitilized, long-term, integrated and personalized care models while promoting innovative ecosystems in order to deliver a better quality of life among the elderly.
In line with this mission, the Conference is to address growing demand caused by the global trends of population ageing and the expansion of chronic diseases by focusing on potentials large-scale implementation of innovations to foster functional ability and wellbeing of older people.
* addressing issues of ageing of biological systems through the topics of regenerative medicine, neuroscience, clinical medicine and other fields of medicine with the emphasis on personalized and integrated medicine;
* showcasing the impact of smart technologies for age-friendly ecosystems by providing a discussion on scaling-up innovations and solutions for age-friendly environments;
* analysing the issues of ageing and healthcare system sustainability at various levels (e.g. institutional, regional, state, EU level).
During the Conference, the participants will have a special section within the programme that will be transferred into the Recommendations. The Recommendations will be developed into the final Conference outcome – the Policy Paper which will be drafted after the Conference. The aim of this working paper is to develop forward-looking valuation pathways and impact approaches and dimensions of ageing research for transformative, mission-oriented research and innovation agendas, which can be taken up in the formulation of ageing services. The Conference and its outputs, including the Policy Paper are aimed at stakeholders, policymakers, the scientific community and healthcare providers.
The Conference will broaden the narrow focus on scientific impact measurement of ageing and healthcare system sustainability research, towards the aforementioned impact dimensions to which the BFHA 2020 Conference can make a fair contribution.
Dr. Agnieszka Olszewska Guizzo, President of NeuroLandscape is one of the invited speakers, and will give her speech titled “Green and Healthy Cities – Environmental exposures and Urban Design for Healthy Longevity” on 4th June within a session “Modern Urban Planning in the Service of Healthy Ageing”. The detailed event program is available here.
Edit: The complete presentation is available on our youtube channel:
Conference organizer: University of Zagreb School of Medicine
Co-organizers: Ministry of Science, Education and Sports (Croatia), School of Medicine, University of Rijeka, University of Split School of Medicine and Josip-Juraj-Strossmayer-Universität Osijek Faculty of Medicine, as well as other faculties of the University of Zagreb – the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, Faculty of Economics and Business and Faculty of Croatian Studies; Ministry of Health, Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy and the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia.
The talk aimed to share the multidisciplinary work that is conducted in NeuroLandscape with special attention to the new program Nature Connection and Mental Health of the Communities launched last year.
The information included some of the preliminary study results obtained from the two main international research clusters in Medellin (Colombia) and Dhaka (Bangladesh). The presentation discussed the social and scientific research approaches that NeuroLandscape is leading in order to understand the contribution of nature in the mental health of low-income communities with the aim of informing new urban design models.
Staff from the Universidad de Caldas Manizales and the National Training Service (SENA) joined in the discussion of creating possible cooperation between institutions and NeuroLanscape in order to consolidate future social and scientific projects in the city of Manizales that could contribute to the health and well-being of the communities in this city.
With combined efforts from the educational institutions and the scientific background of Neurolandscape, future projects are envisioned, in which a greater network of opportunities that include new research projects and transfer skills education programs could be established with the aim of benefiting low-income community residents.
Date& Time: 5.11.2019, 9am Location: School of Architecture and Civil Engineering (SACE 5), Xiamen University, #182 Da Xue Road, Xiamen, China
With the growing interest among researchers, practitioners, and urban decision makers in the influence of the quality of the built environment on peoples’ health, there is increasing emphasis on using scientific knowledge to inform urban design, including methods of neuroscience. Current development of the
technology permits to study the brain response of people in-situ, using the wireless portable electroencephalography (EEG) devices.
Studies leveraging on the knowledge on the design theory, and affective neuroscience are part of emerging area of evidence-based design. It is of NeuroLandscape mission to advance the knowledge on this topic and promote use of rigorous scientific experimental designs in various contexts around the globe. This would allow replication of experiments while advancing the knowledge on causal relationships between the quality of living environments and mental health outcomes from the passive exposures to them.
We are hosting a 3 hour, hands-on workshop
Application of neuroscience in urban planning and design. An introduction to the theory and practice of EEG experiment design, data collection, and analysis
9:30 – Registration
9:45 – Introduction to EEG
10:00 – Experiments design in an urban context (theory + practical exercise)
11:00 – Equipment and data acquisition (theory + demo)
12:00 – Q&A session
The workshop is free of charge for the conference delegates. You can register here