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I in-person NeuroLandscape Workshop | Korthi-Greece | 7-9 May 2022

Natural and Cultural Heritage for Healthier and More Sustainable Urban Realms

The first, in-person scientific meeting of NeuroLandscape Team, titled "Natural and Cultural Heritage for Healthier and More Sustainable Urban Realms" took place among beautiful landscapes of the Greek island of Andros, hosted at the local Korthi Town Hall. 

The program of a 3-day event included:

SATURDAY (7.05.2022)

Time Presentation title - Speaker (Affiliation) Language
11:15 - 11:30 Welcome & Opening with Coffee GR/ENG
11:30 - 12:00 Contemplative Landscapes for Sustainable Tourism -  Dr. Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo (NeuroLandscape) ENG
12:00 - 12:30 Nature-Based Solutions for More Inclusive and Resilient Communities - Dr. Weronika Gasior (NeuroLandscape) ENG
12:30 - 13:00 A.I. Tools for Cultural Heritage and Tourism - Dr. Theofrastos Mantadelis (NeuroLandscape) ENG

SUNDAY (8.05.2022)

10:00 - 10:30 Impact in Post-pandemic Times: Neuroscience to the Rescue - Dr. Nicolas Escoffier (NeuroLandscape) ENG
10:30 - 11:15 Gender Equality Plan as a necessary tool for Horizon Europe Applications - Dr. Weronika Gasior (NeuroLandscape) ENG
11:15 - 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 - 12:00 Korthian Artists 1850-1950 - Mr. Aristeidis Mantadelis (Civil Engineer) GR/ENG
12:00 - 13:00 Can you  see what you’re looking at?: Contemplative Landscape Features Recognition and Assessment - outdoor workshop - Dr. Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo (NeuroLandscape) ENG

MONDAY (9.05.2022)

10:00 - 10:30 Dimetra - Predicting vulnerable goods disease before transportation - Dr. Theofrastos Mantadelis (NeuroLandscape) ENG
10:30 - 11:15 Sustainable food systems in the EU legal framework - Ms. Aleksandra Zaborowska (Neurolandscape and EP) ENG
11:15 - 11:30 Coffee Break
11:30 - 12:00 Climate Change and Water Management - case study of Khulna, Bangladesh - Ms. Nazwa Tahsin (NeuroLandscape) ENG
12:00 - 12:30 VinhoLandscape - An Introduction to the Wines of Northern Portugal - Mr. Raul J.Guizzo (Symington Family Estates) ENG
12:30 - 13:00 Wine Tasting - workshop - Mr. Raul J.Guizzo (Symington Family Estates) ENG

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ICT Solutions for Healthcare | Webinar | 21 October 2021

XIII International Congress of the Spanish Association of Bioethics and Medical Ethics (AEBI)

The Organizing Committee and the Spanish Association of Bioethics and Medical Ethics (AEBI) organized the thirteenth edition of the AEBI International Congress that hosted several focused events, including the webinar on ICT solutions for Healthcare. In it our NeuroLandscape VR tool called Eascape was presented to the wider medical and Spanish-speaking audience.

Program

18:30

Welcome & opening - Elena Andrade Gomez - Enfermera. Doctora en Salud Pública. Directora de estudios de la Escuela de Enfermería de la Universidad de La Rioja. España.

18:40

ENTORNOS NATURALES, SALUD Y REALIDAD VIRTUAL Dr. Weronika Gasior - Lingüista. Doctora en Lingüística aplicada. Miembro del Consejo Científico de Neurolandscape. Jefe de Comunicaciones y Proyectos de Realidad Virtual. NeuroLandscape. Polonia - Singapur.

19:00 - Q& A
19:10

DESAFÍOS ÉTICOS DEL e-HEALTH Y EL m-HEALTH - Juan Carlos Oliva, Ingeniero de telecomunicaciones y electrónica. Director de Innovación Sanitaria del Sistema Público de Salud de La Rioja. España.

19:30 - Q&A
19:40

FORTALEZAS Y DEBILIDADES DEL E-LEARNING Y B-LEARNING - Vicente Soriano , Médico y Doctor en Medicina. Vicedecano de Investigación de la Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud de la Universidad Internacional de la Rioja (UNIR). España.

20:00- Q&A
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Innovate 4 Cities 2021 | UN Habitat Conference

Tuesday 12 October at 15:45 CEST.

Dr. Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo has presented her insights at the session 5H: Green spaces for healthier cities, which was fully recorded and available online:

The Conference, co-hosted by #UNHabitat and #Mayors4Climate, brings together innovative research and science to help cities tackle #ClimateChange challenges. The global five-day virtual #I4C Conference covering #Science and #Innovation partnerships driving inclusive, resilient, and climate-neutral #cities, runned from 11 to 15 October 2021 and attracted over 1,000 city leaders, scientists, researchers, innovators, academics, youth, and business leaders and is open to everyone.

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Circular Green Cities at the Floriade Expo 2021

Experts talks were a part of the Sustainability day at the FoodForum and gave a lot of fruit for thought on how we can work towards more #circular cities (Vojtech Vosecky), nature inclusive urban developments such as #pampus #Almere (Paola HuijdingIngrid Zeegers) and on a street-level scale by #RewildingSteppingStones (Gideon Spanjar) and the value for human well-being by Dr Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo.

The event was moderated by Xander De Bruine
Special thanks to Mark Spetter Bart Harleman Dina El Filali Debbie Tijsterman

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ASEAN Workshop on Biodiversity and its Linkages to Human Health

27 September 2021  at 2:30 PM Singapore

The connections between biodiversity, mental health and physical inactivity are particularly relevant in the context of shifting global burden of diseases in which non-communicable diseases are among the most rapidly rising challenge to global public health. Contact with nature may provide positive mental health benefits, as well as promote physical activity and contribute to overall well-being.

The ASEAN Workshop on Biodiversity and its Links to Human Health in an Urban Context and Capacity Building on Therapeutic Horticulture as an Example of the Links (referred to subsequently as the ASEAN Workshop) is one of the follow-up activities to the above 2018 regional workshop. The European Union, through the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP), is providing funding support to the ASEAN Workshop.

Due to the COVID-19, the ASEAN Workshop had to be postponed and implementation modalities divided into two parts:
(i) introductory webinar (as per current invitation and information note); and
(ii) in-person workshop (tentatively to be conducted in 2022, contingent on prevailing
COVID-19 situation)

Expected Outputs of the Introductory Webinar

1. Enable participants to become supporters and active advocates of green spaces and
therapeutic horticulture approaches in their respective cities in the ASEAN Region.
2. Generate ideas and recommendations on the promotion of green spaces and
therapeutic horticulture in the ASEAN Region.

2:30-2:40pm  - Entry of participants, House rules ACB

2:40-2:45pm Opening remarks , Ms. Wendy Yap - Director/ International Biodiversity Conservation, NParks

Session 1: Role of Green Spaces on Health and Wellbeing
2.45-3.25pm

  1. "Landscapes for mental wellbeing" - Dr. Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo - President and Co-founder of  NeuroLandscape
  2.  "Case study: Prescribing physical activity in parks in Singapore for improved health and wellbeing" - Dr. Nicholas Alexander Petrunoff - Assistant Professor, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore
  3. Question and Answer - Moderator: Mr. Elpidio Peria, - Technical Consultant, ACB

Session 2: Benefits of Therapeutic Horticulture, a Nature-based Programme
3.35-4.25pm

  1. "Contextualising therapeutic horticulture for the tropics" - Ms. Tham Siang Yu Permaculture Designer
  2. "Case study 1: Design and programming of therapeutic horticulture in a tropical nursing home" - Mr. Tham Xin Kai Design Director of Hortian Consultancy and Co-founder of
    Hortherapeutics
  3. " Case study 2: A research study on therapeutic horticulture on older adults in Singapore" - Ms. Angelia Sia Deputy Director of Research at the Centre for Urban Greenery and
    Ecology, NParks
  4. Question and Answer Moderator: Mr. Elpidio Peria, Technical Consultant, ACB

4:35 – 4.45 Synthesis and Closing - Ms. Clarissa C. Arida, Director, Programme Development and Implementation Unit, ACB

iHealthtech, National University of Singapore and 

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World Sustainability Forum Speech on Community-led Greenspace |13-15 September 2021

On Monday 13th September at 11:00 CEST Dr Diana Benjumea Meija presented her research on "The Spatial and Social Components of Community-led Green Spaces and its Contribution to the Health and Wellbeing of Low-income Communities" at the 9th World Sustainability Forum

In the last decade, there has been a surge in projects initiated by urban low-income residents in Medellin to revitalise urban green spaces through pro-environmental initiatives. Urban green spaces in these neighbourhoods are believed to be the repositories of diverse socially constructed and perceived meanings defined by the prosocial and self-reflective approaches of the communities to achieve alternative methods of governance over the territory.

This study was designed to investigate the underlying spatial and social components that emerge after the community-led green spaces are built. Two neighbourhoods in Medellin were investigated: Villatina (commune 8) and Eduardo Santos (commune 13). A quasi-longitudinal mix-methods study was conducted from 2016 until June 2021.
Ethnographic field work, interviews, focus groups and surveys were collected with residents of the two neighbourhoods. The results of this study suggest that there are underlying social and spatial components that emerge after the community-led green spaces are built and these are crucial to forge prosocial behaviours, activism, stewardship, and protection from crime.

Additionally, the active engagement of the communities in self-governed placemaking process creates an immediate sense of place defined by social factors such as ownership, learning, community coexistence, cooperation, sustainability, and ecology. These components contribute to the mental and physical health and wellbeing of low-income residents and creates unique social and environmental values.

Book of abstracts available here

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EKLIPSE project outcomes: Systematic Review, Podcast, WHO Booklet

For several years, papers have been published about the positive impact of greenness on health, including some synthesis and systematic reviews. Yet, none of them has so far addressed the question of the type of habitats and components of such habitats that have a significant (and preferably positive) effect on mental health and psychological well-being. This is important in order to provide recommendations to designers and managers of green and blue spaces in and around cities.

The aim of this request was to provide recommendations regarding the design, management, and creation of natural spaces in urban or suburban areas in order to promote the mental health of urban inhabitants.

Final outputs of this work can be found here and here, and they include:

@Eklipse_europe has also launched a podcast about our Expert Working Group work results and more!
The podcast can be accessed here. 
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Mental Health in Slums – the Case of Bangladesh Among Other Developing Countries

The share of the world’s population living in urban areas has been predicted to increase from 55% in 2018 to 60% in 2030 (UN, 2018). Every year people move to the urban areas from villages for various reasons. If we try to see this urban-rural migration under the push-pull model, push factors from rural end such as landlessness and poverty, frequent natural calamities (particularly riverbank erosion, tidal surge), lack of social and cultural opportunities for rural rich and The pull factors from the urban end like job opportunities, higher wages, better civic services encourage these migrants. Most of them are low or lower-middle-income people.

Due to high land prices and construction costs, these people cannot afford suitable housing. In rural areas, they may have a house with a courtyard, pond with lots of greenery. It is very hard to get just a shelter under the roof which is far away from the house they used to live in. A lot of slums and unplanned low-income residential areas with poor greeneries, ventilation boom up. People have little scope to take care of their mental health in such settlements. Most of them face severe mental illness due to some social and physical variables including low socioeconomic status, unemployment, impoverished social networks, quality of life, bad living condition, overcrowding, pollution, and limited social supports overall the environment around these people. These variables of the social and physical environment have different types of effects on different age groups, it also varies from gender to gender.

Different geographical contexts – same issues

In a study in India, it has been explored with ethnographic methods that afflictions of the city affecting the emotional well-being and mental health of women and men with respect to gender in the Malvani slum, Mumbai. Mental health issues such as emotional distress, hopelessness, disappointment, demoralization, addictions, instability, hostility, violence, criminality, worthlessness, fatigue and weakness, depression. Poor hygiene and sanitation, subjective quality of life of poor people living in deprived conditions population density, hutment demolition, homelessness, violence, and crime play a vital role in this degrading mental health in slums of Mumbai.

Women face more problems along with the previously mentioned ones such as dual responsibilities of home and work, substandard jobs and pay, sexual exploitation, marital disharmony, abandonment, exploitation of women, domestic violence, the humiliation of women
which creates a great negative impact like depression, fatigue , worthlessness, stress, low self- esteem from menial position etc.

If we look at South Africa, 72% of women in informal settlements have been reported moderate to high levels of depressive symptomology and 57.9% reported very high levels, compared to only 26.4% of women in a nationally representative sample. A lack of access to water, sewage, garbage collection, health care, and other basic services as factors associated with poor mental and physical health in these settlements. The prevalence of IPV in these communities (66.2%) is higher than in the general population (39%). Even in the slum of Bangladesh, 46% of women in the sample tested positive for a UTI (urinary tract infections) which have not only a physical health problem but also severe mental issues.

Adolescents in the urban slums of Bangladesh face more mental problems than other well-off areas. They may have limited chances to learn skills to shape their minds. Thus, non-slum adolescents may be able to feel anxiety when they face stress, whereas slum adolescents may not be able to learn or practice this
highly cognitive procedure but rather vent their frustrations by acting out as they get older. Here also, quality of life plays a role.

Housing conditions in the slums of Bangladesh (photo by Ananya Tahsin)

Healthy housing – a human right

Most studies are consistent about that housing condition plays a major role in mental health issues. Lack of adequate space, utility facilities, open space, the hygienic living environment creates a great negative impact on the people living in the slum. Though the constitution of Bangladesh declared housing is a basic right. But proving proper healthy housing to people is a huge challenge for Bangladesh. 80% of poor HHs in Dhaka live in one-roomed homes of the latter types (1.2 m2 floor area per person). From the National Housing Policy of Bangladesh 1993, we come to know that housing is one of the three basic primary needs of human-like food and clothing. It is considered that housing creates a sense of belonging and safety for the owner. Even the major objective of the Housing Policy 1999 was to ensure housing for all. It has put emphasis on the disadvantaged low and middle-income groups of people. Then again the goal of the Housing Policy 2008 was to provide proper housing available to all citizens and to develop houses, settlements, and workplaces on a sustainable and equal basis. The National Housing Authority undertook a project to provide 5,472 flats in Bhashantek. But govt is failing to provide housing to this increasing number of migrants.

RAJUK has reserved only 1.2%, 4.3%, and 7.5% of land for low-income groups in the Purbachal, Uttara (3rd Phase), and Jhilmeel projects respectively. Different NGOs are working to provide housing to this low-income community living in an informal settlement. ARBAN, one of the first NGOs  piloted a low-income, urban housing project in Bangladesh. By tapping into micro-credit savings deposits and loan assistance, ARBAN built an apartment complex for 42-member households in Mirpur, Dhaka. The apartments were handed over in 2012. Building on success, ARBAN is taking on another housing project to construct apartments for 85 households on a 1 Bigha plot at the city’s Rampura-Banasree area. “Ghore Fera” or similar kind of rehabilitation opportunities have to be created.

People in our slums are still struggling for a better life…

As we can see there are so many policies but not much really changes for people in slums. They deserve proper housing, a basic healthy life with effective interventions for mental health. Community mental health services should be introduced in these informal settlements. Approaches to mental health policy and planning for community mental health benefit to priorities can be defined with local socio-cultural contexts. So improving and monitoring should also be a concern to the providers to slums. Complimentary approaches to mental health research can also be helpful to address interdisciplinary academic interests and practical needs for mental health planning. Psychiatric epidemiology is required to identify the burden of mental disorders. Quality living may improve their mental health. A housing with better basic facilities such as water sanitation, electricity, open space, basic medical treatment, scopes to talk and getting help about mental health is their right to survive in a good way on this Earth.

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Neuro-architecture to promote well-being | MAB 2020 Symposium

JULY 1, 2021
16:30 – 18:00 (CEST)

Neuro-architecture transmits knowledge and technologies from the field of neuroscience into the professions of spatial design, aimed to get better-informed design solutions to promote human and non-human well-being in our public spaces. We kick off with the key findings of our 2-year research project Sensing Streetscapes, followed by a roundtable exploration with the global pioneers from Neuro-architecture. What is the state of affairs and what is the potential of this approach to push improved sustainable well-being, especially in the newly built high-density urban settings?

Moderators:

Frank Suurenbroek - Professor of Spatial Urban Transformation at the Faculty of Technology at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Gideon Spanjar - Senior Researcher and projectleader at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Gideon is also a professor of Innovation & Urban Green Spaces at Aeres University of Applied Sciences and an associate fellow at the Centre for Econics and Ecosystem Management.

Invited Guests:

Jordan Lacey -Australian Research Council fellow and senior lecturer across RMIT University’s School of Design and School of Art. He specialises in artistic research and soundscape design

Justin Hollander - PhD, FAICP is a Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University. Among others, he co-authored the groundbreaking study Cognitive Architecture (2015)

Ann Sussman - trained architect, Boston Architectural College (BAC), co-author of the groundbreaking study Cognitive Architecture (2015) and co-founder of TheHapi.org.

Davide Ruzzon - professor of architecture at the University of Venice (IUAV), co-founder of the master Neuroscience Applied to Architectural Design and member of the Academy of Neuro-Architecture, actively involved in the Architecture Biennale in Venice. Davide also works as an architect at Lombardini22 in Milan.

Stefano Andreani - Lecturer in Architecture and a Research Associate at the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University

Michael A. Arbib - University Professor Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Biomedical Engineering, Biological Sciences, and Psychology at the University of Southern California.

Elnaz Ghazi -  actively working as professor (Docente a Contratto) at Master of Neuroesthetics in department of Medicine and Surgery ( Medical Systems) at Tor Vergata University of Rome in Italy.

Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo - President and founder of NeuroLandscape. She has a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture and Urban Ecology from the University of Porto (Portugal) and is a researcher at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore.

Organizers

Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
Chair of Spatial Urban Transformation
Research project Sensing Streetscapes

This symposium was a part of  MEDIA ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE 2020

JUNE 24TH · 29TH: WORKSHOPS
JUNE 30TH · JULY 2ND: ONLINE CONFERENCE
# FUTURES IMPLIED

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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.