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EKLIPSE Expert meeting, London

This is an interview with three members of EKLIPSE project talking about the latest Expert Group meeting in London which brought us closer to the final output of a project related to answering the question on which types and components of urban green and blue spaces have significant influence on human mental health and well-being.

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A Place for Yourself Everywhere.

Research has proven that time alone in outdoor nature is beneficial for our mental and physical health.  One of the Contemplative Landscape characteristics is the “sense of solitude” that one can experience when immersed in the landscape.

Yet, the urban high stress pace of life “enjoyed” by many across the globe makes finding such a spot difficult. While it is common for cities to increase their foliage, it is often hard to measure how effective their efforts are.

However, here at NeuroLandscape, our research allows up to strive further in incorporate nature into our own everyday surroundings. Creating a seamless experience that can be enjoyed by all who inhabit the same space.

You can also assess the link from here: https://www.universal-sci.com/headlines/2018/6/9/-spending-time-alone-in-nature-is-good-for-your-mental-and-emotional-health

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Hidden in Plain Sight

Urban landscape surrounding most of us nowadays, offers more than just the face value that we see. Urban ecosystem services are presenting terrific potentials for the growing communities. Landscape design for health and well-being goes hand in hand with the design for fresh produce and urban farming opportunities. 

There is plenty evidence to show this dynamics. In this TED talk, we show an example from Detroit,  Devita Davison from FOODLAB Detroit brings viewers on a 12 min tour on how the city's weakness can become its future. We are so into discovering such transformative opportunities!

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Park Prescriptions Programs

The lovely video about Park Prescriptions program in USA. Such programs are emerging also in other countries like in UK and Singapore.

Fill Your Prescription: Find a Park Near You!

Park Prescription programs are designed to strengthen the connection between healthcare, parks, and public lands to improve the physical and mental health of individuals and communities. Learn more about Park Prescription programs and Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area by attending Park Prescription Day on Sunday, April 23 – a nationwide celebration!#ParkRx #HPHPBayArea

Posted by Healthy Parks Healthy People: Bay Area on Thursday, 6 April 2017

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Contemplative Landscape Model featured in a book!

The Contemplative Landscape Model (CLM) was developed by our scientists to measure and define the subjectivity in landscape aesthetics. Utilizing 7 categories to rank any given landscape view.

 

What's considered as aesthetic is often instinctual, yet what makes it so often overlooked. Take a look outside and you'll see how easy it is for the CLM to be applied in the urban outdoor spaces we live in (for example Singapore’s HDB estates).

The CLM is featured in the book Nature, Place & People. It can be found here.

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Healthy landscapes | UNISCAPE International Conference

"Assessing Relevant Knowledge Related to the Types and Characteristics of Urban Green & Blue Spaces Having a Significant Impact on Human Mental health and Well-being" to be presented at Healthy landscapes | UNISCAPE International Conference in Bologna (6-8 June) by Eklipse: Knowledge and Learning Mechanism on Biodiversity

While participating in the Eklipse project we are looking forward to its results: the first Systematic Review on the types and components of urban green landscapes to have a positive impact on mental health. This SR will pinpoint the most urgent research questions to answer in the area!

Healthy landscapes | UNISCAPE International Conference

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Horizon 2020 Proposal Submitted!

 

From December until now has been a real marathon: 2 workshops, 8 European partners, 150 pages, dozens of meetings (real and online), tons of work and research done...whew!

Before all thought and reflections from this time fade away, I wanted to share some of the experiences here, as a guide for those eyeing the possibility of submitting their own proposal.

So, first of all, Horizon 2020 is a large scale research funding initiative in Europe, and it covers many themes and platforms for research and innovation in different areas of science, technology and business. More info about it can be found here: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/

It is not, as many think, only directed to researchers and research institutions as small and large companies are also encouraged to participate. The more practical the outcomes are for the real world, the better. What the European Commission wants to see are funded projects that change Europe through solving different kinds of problems and advancing knowledge in the areas where there are still gaps.

At the very beginning, a half year ago, we knew very little about this program. We weren’t even sure if it was also directed at NGOs, and if NeuroLandscape was eligible for funding. Various sources on the internet were saying that NGOs can participate only in some very limited number of initiatives of H2020.

However, this was incorrect. NGOs are completely eligible to participate and request 100% funding for research activities the same as other legal institutions (or even individuals!). The only requirement is to submit an extraordinarily great proposal and beat the overwhelming competition.

So here is when we started working on our proposal. (I’ll leave out the nitty gritty details. We can explore those when and if the proposal is finally accepted). This was an intensive and challenging experience to prepare to say the least. No joking around with the European Commission!

This is what we did, and what anyone who starts their adventure with H2020 should probably do to submit the proposal successfully.

1) Conceptualize the ground-breaking idea. This may be self-explanatory, but important not to forget.

2) Go to the workshops. Each of the European countries has an NCP (National Contact Point) to help candidates prepare the proposals correctly through the organization of very helpful meetings and workshops. We went to one organized in Warsaw, Poland and also… in Singapore (Europe is also expanding across the continent to Asia!)

3) Find consortium partners. This is probably the most challenging part, because partners should fit perfectly to your idea, represent at least 3 EU countries, and be great people that you will want to work with after the project starts. For us, it meant a lot of meetings and discussions with many different people.

4) Read tons of materials online about Horizon 2020 rules. Unfortunately, this is a lot of work, so you’ll need several people involved in this. Read, learn, share with your team, discuss, and keep an eye on updates, because not all outdated rules are gone from the web.

5) Get familiar with the participant portal. You will need to know it by heart in case of last minute emergencies or technical problems. (Something we encountered right before the deadline, unfortunately).

6) Write a proposal. There are a lot of tips online and at each NCP about how to write a successful proposal. However, nobody will provide you with an example of a successful proposal. This is a closely guarded secret of the EU, I guess. Nevertheless, we found a helpful document: http://www.health2market.eu/documents/ARIaT_annotated%20template%20H2020_innovation.pdf

7) Plan the budget. Planning a general estimated budget actually requires thinking about the details first. Each little thing can really add up. As they say, the devil’s in the details.

8) Consult about your proposal. We consulted over our proposal with two NCPs from Poland and the Netherlands. And guess what? The feedback we received each time was different, but not conflicting, which was helpful.

9) Submit. Here’s an important tip – Never leave it till the last minute. The European Portal advises submission 48 hours before the deadline. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage this, due to some administration processes still not completed from the coordinator’s side. On the day of deadline, as one could expect, the system was overloaded and we were unable to edit or submit the proposal due to a technical error. Fortunately, the deadline was extended and it was eventually submitted. It would’ve been nice to have avoided that last minute stress though.

Due to all these challenges of proposal preparation, it feels like we’ve won something simply by managing to submit everything successfully. I don’t know if we’ll get the grant, but for sure this experience has enriched us all already!

Experiences like this confirm how important it is to be working with the right people and on ideas that we are all really enthused about!

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the opportunity to share our awesome project with the world!

Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo

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Cities of the Future

"By 2050, about three-quarters of the world's population will live in cities."

All the more reason to investigate the importance of green spaces in urban areas to help keep these future inhabitants as healthy as possible.

"To keep cities green is the challenge of future cities."

And we are prepared to contribute to this challenge!

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/energy/2015/12/151212-your-shot-future-cities-pictures/