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GreenInCities Kick-Off Meeting: NeuroLandscape in Barcelona

  • Day 1: Introduction to GreenInCities and Nature-based Solutions

NeuroLandscape was proud to participate in the Kick-Off meeting of the project Demonstrating Holistic Data-driven Co-Creative Approaches in Nature-based solutions towards Climate Adaptation and Mitigation (GreenInCities) (Project ID: 101139730) in Barcelona, Spain. This groundbreaking EU-funded project GreenInCities, brings together experts to revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods and fight climate change. Their weapon of choice? Nature-based solutions (NbS) for urban regeneration (European Commission, 2023).

Day 1: El Besòs Takes Center Stage (GreenInCities Pilot Area)

El Besòs, a Barcelona district, was chosen as a GreenInCities’ pilot cities. The morning began with a warm welcome by the local leaders, including Mayor Filo Cañete. With much enthusiasm, they discussed their shared objective of achieving climate neutrality by 2030, echoing the ambitious goal set by the Barcelona City Council.

GreenInCities’ core values connected deeply with their mission, particularly:

  • Inclusive Development: Bringing disadvantaged communities into the fold as active participants in shaping their green future.
  • Environmental Stewardship: Recognizing the inherent value of ecosystems and actively promoting the value of biodiversity in cities, through its contribution to human health.
  • Tech-Powered Transformation: Leveraging cutting-edge approaches like neurourbanism and mental health digital twins to guide urban renewal.

In the afternoon, we explored El Besòs further. We toured Parc del Fòrum and the charming La Catalana neighborhood alongside Francesc Romero Siles of Consorci del Besòs, who was our guide. He pointed areas of interest targeted for regeneration, such as the beach and the natural landscape. Later,  LAND hosted a workshop that used an animal-centric approach to connect participants with local flora and fauna. In this way, we explored the importance of shared responsibility for the local ecosystem’s well-being. The day ended with a visit to the inspiring Nau de Turbines, a former power plant undergoing transformation into a vibrant cultural hub.

Day 2: Fostering Collaboration and Innovation at Valldaura Labs

Valldaura Labs, nestled amidst the beautiful green landscape of Barcelona’s Collserola Natural Park, provided a peaceful setting for Day Two. The day was filled with interactive workshops and engaging discussions among our GreenInCities team. We shared our knowledge and found new ways of working together. One workshop, led by Linköping University and Universidade do Porto, had us explore potential connection between representatives from “leader” and “follower” pilot cities. Another session focused on exploring the perspectives of diverse stakeholders in making impactful decisions that affects both citizens and the environment. The highlight of the day was a visit to the #FabLab, a treasure of innovative sustainable urban design solutions. The award-winning TOVA greenhouse stood out as a testament to the power of sustainable design principles.

Day 3: Building Partnerships and Charting the Course Forward

The final day’s activities were held at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) Atelier in Poblenou. During the City Twinning Workshop, the consortium made the final decisions on the pairing of the “follower” cities with their “front-runner” counterparts. These included:

  • Birštonas will twin with Nova Gorica and Barcelona
  • Matosinhos will twin with Prato and Nova Gorica
  • Cork will twin with Helsinki and Athens
  • Pécs will twin with Helsinki and Barcelona
  • Reykjavik will twin with Nova Gorica, Prato and Athens

NeuroLandscape: Measuring the Impact of Green Cities

While GreenInCities prioritizes aesthetics and environmental benefits, it is crucial not to forget the impact of green environments on human well-being. This is where NeuroLandscape comes in. On Day 3, we presented Muse2, a portable neuroimaging device. This EEG technology allows us to assess, in real time, the impact of environmental changes on user well-being.

GreenInCities has officially begun its journey. NeuroLandscape is excited to be part of the team to measure the positive impact of Nature-based solutions on European citizens.

Stay tuned for updates on more GreenInCities news!

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GreenInCities project: Reshaping Urban Well-Being through Nature-Based Solutions 

The GreenInCities project tackles the challenge of bringing nature-based solutions to deprived urban areas to improve mental well-being. Learn how NeuroLandscape is contributing with innovative assessment methods.

As urban areas expand and crowding surges, accessing green spaces has become increasingly challenging. The issue goes beyond aesthetics; studies consistently link access to nature with improved mental and physical well-being. However, existing efforts to regreen these urban spaces often prioritize affluent, tourist-heavy areas, leaving behind disadvantaged neighborhoods across Europe (European Commission, 2023).

Introducing: The GreenInCities project

The GreenInCities project, funded by Horizon Europe, aims to address this gap. Launched in January 2024, GreenInCities brings together a consortium of experts to redefine urban regeneration strategies for deprived areas. The four-year project focuses on developing, implementing, and monitoring Nature-based Solutions (NbS), effectively bridging urban planning with ecological sustainability. 

GreenInCities adopts a comprehensive approach to urban regeneration, prioritizing the mental health needs of the cities and residents involved. The project leverages innovative tools and methodologies, including, but not limited to:

  • Augmented Reality (AR): This technology enables the pre-visualization of landscape changes, facilitating community engagement and informed decision-making.
  • Mobile Electroencephalography (mEEG): mEEG assesses the impact of NbS interventions on the mental health of local communities.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI plays a crucial role in optimizing planning and analysis, tailoring NbS efforts to the specific needs of each city.

These cutting-edge techniques ensure that regreening efforts seamlessly integrate into urban environments while remaining adaptable to meet the unique needs of each city and its residents.


GreenInCities: Objectives and Outcomes 

The GreenInCities project boasts a variety of specific objectives, all designed to amplify the impact of NbS for all stakeholders, from policymakers to citizens. Through collaborative efforts and a multidisciplinary approach, the project endeavors to achieve the following: 

  • Establish an Online Repository: This repository contains existing NbS implementations to serve as a valuable reference point for project activities.
  • Develop a Sustainable Renaturing Toolbox: This toolbox will comprise assessment methodologies and decision-making processes aligned with the goals and key indicators of local stakeholders, such as regional urban planning strategies.
  • Create Renaturing Guidelines: These guidelines, based on an evaluation matrix, will guide the implementation and maintenance of NbS across diverse sites.
  • Design Collaboratively a Data Infrastructure and Management System: This system will manage the data collected from greening initiatives across partner cities.
  • Co-Develop and Validate Predictive Tools: These tools, using the data collected by multimodal sensors, will facilitate pre- and post-intervention assessments to measure the effectiveness of NbS interventions.
  • Utilize Advanced Immersive Technologies: The project will leverage Augmented Reality to visualize changes in pilot areas before and after interventions, enabling proactive insights and adaptive planning for maximizing the positive impacts of NbS efforts.

NeuroLandscape’s Contribution to GreenInCities 

NeuroLandscape (NL) is proud to be part of this groundbreaking project. Our involvement demonstrates our commitment to advancing regreening efforts through a “human-in-the-loop” approach. We aim to ensure these initiatives benefit the entire ecosystem, from those initiating regreening efforts to the end users – the citizens who witness these positive transformations in their daily lives. 

Within the project’s scope, NL will develop a methodology for assessing citizens’ mental health before (pre) and after (post) regreening interventions. This methodology will leverage advanced neuroscience tools such as mobile Electroencephalography (mEEG). Once developed, the methodology will be disseminated within the consortium and implemented through field studies in at least three pilot European cities where regreening initiatives will take place. 

Building upon these assessments, NL will create a “mental health digital twin.” This innovative concept involves the development of automated pre/post measurements for regreening interventions using machine learning methods. This eliminates the need for direct measurements on human subjects while harnessing the predictive capabilities of AI to forecast the impact of NbS interventions on mental well-being.

Our involvement in GreenInCities represents a significant step forward for our organization, solidifying our commitment to advancing urban regreening initiatives through innovative approaches. We are dedicated to making a positive impact on the broader community by promoting mental health and environmental well-being in urban areas.

Want to learn more about how GreenInCities is transforming urban landscapes and improving lives?

Visit the project website or follow us on social media (Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) for updates!


Keywords: Urban greening, nature-based solutions (NBS), mental health, well-being, deprived urban areas, equitable regeneration, Horizon Europe project, mobile EEG, machine learning, digital twin, citizen engagement, sustainable cities.

(GreenInCities Project (2024). Project Ref# HORIZON-MISS-2023-CLIMA-CITIES-01 grant agreement No 101139730.