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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Session 1: Role of Green Spaces on Health and Wellbeing
"Landscapes for mental wellbeing" - Dr. Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo - President and Co-founder of NeuroLandscape
"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
Question and Answer - Moderator: Mr. Elpidio Peria, - Technical Consultant, ACB
Session 2: Benefits of Therapeutic Horticulture, a Nature-based Programme
"Contextualising therapeutic horticulture for the tropics" - Ms. Tham Siang Yu Permaculture Designer
"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
" 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
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
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.
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 hereand here, and they include:
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.
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.
The book is intended for citizens and political decision-makers interested in systems perspectives of urban health and well-being seeking for inspiration to find solutions for the increasing complexity of cities and the environmental, social, and health impacts of urbanization.
In our paper entitled: Coping with Extreme Circumstances Through Community-Led Local Nature Interventions: A Science-based Policy Analysis, we discuss
the importance of the Local Nature Interventions Projects (LNIP) that are created by low-income communities as coping strategies to extreme events to help them sustain
health and well-being.
We present examples of the LNIP taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic and we argue that the LNIP are part of a secondary green network that could be acknowledged as part of the main city’s urban green infrastructure. Therefore, the internal capacities of the communities to create sustainable projects in the natural and built environment across time should be acknowledged and supported in future urban green projects. With these preliminary findings, we seek to draw attention towards LNIP initiatives as they could become alternatives to sustain community empowerment, environmental awareness, and health and well-being across settlements located in extreme urban environments.
COVID-19, Cities and Health: A View from New York (Jo Ivey Boufford and Anthony Shih)
Current and Future Human Exposure to High Atmospheric Temperatures in the Algarve, Portugal: Impacts and Policy Recommendations(André Oliveira, Filipe Duarte Santos, and Luís Dias)
Neuroscience-Based Urban Design for Mentally Healthy Cities(Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo)
The Role of Money for a Healthy Economy(Felix Fuders)
Developing Health-Promoting Schools: An Initiative in Government Schools of Indore City, India(Alsa Bakhtawar)
Mobility and COVID-19: Time for a Mobility Paradigm Shift (Carolyn Daher, Sarah Koch, Manel Ferri, Guillem Vich, Maria Foraster, Glòria Carrasco, Sasha Khomenko, Sergio Baraibar, Laura Hidalgo, and Mark Nieuwenhuijsen)
COVID-19 Shows Us the Need to Plan Urban Green Spaces More Systemically for Urban Health and Wellbeing(Jieling Liu)
How Lack or Insufficient Provision of Water and Sanitation Impacts Women’s Health Working in the Informal Sector: Experiences from West and Central Africa(H. Blaise Nguendo Yongsi)
Planning Models for Small Towns in Tanzania(Dawah Lulu Magembe-Mushi and Ally Namangaya)
Coping with Extreme Circumstances Through Community-Led Local Nature Interventions: A Science-Based Policy Analysis(Diana Benjumea and Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo)
The current global outbreak of #COVID19 makes the problem of our living space and mental health more relevant than ever. Read more in our recent blog post. This is why we need new solutions and new approaches.
Please complete this 5-min, anonymous survey. If possible, share it with your family and friends, with special attention to elderly people, who (that’s our guess) could benefit from our solutions the most.
Singapore is one of the most prominent examples of Urban Sustainability through new technologies, research and development. It is also one of the few countries where the government is actively supporting science and innovation in order to inform the practice of urban design and solve urban living issues. The Urban Sustainability R&D Congress is organized since 2011, biannually, and invites all R&D projects pursued by Government agencies, collaborating with local and international research institutions.
One of the keynote speakers, Dr Elsa Arcaute from UCL, a researcher of Cities as Complex Systems, when asked by a panel moderator, Dr Cheong Koon Hean (CEO of Housing & Development Board) what advice does she have for Singapore, she answered to just continue what Singapore was already doing. She mentioned that she as a researcher is used to “begging” urban decision-makers to look at the results of her work. In Singapore, authorities are not only interested to hear researchers out but also keen to fund the applicable research.
Congress is a national platform for government agencies, research community and industries to come together to discuss R&D responses for urban solutions and sustainability. The exhibition is also a showcase of the most interesting solutions and research in progress. Everything is presented with typical to Singapore care to impress all the visitors.
Singapore has been striving to balance economic growth with a high quality of life and care for the environment. As a result, it has to deal with many challenges, including the growing burden of mental health disorders and the aging population. These challenges were recognized and addressed at the Congress through a “Greater Sustainability Track”, which shared the benefits of adopting sustainable and biophilic design ideas, provide behavioural and technological insights to aid the creation of a high-quality living environment. On this track the preliminary study of Dr Agnieszka Olszewska-Guizzo, President of NeuroLandscape was presented, you can watch her speech on our youtube channel!
Photos: 1. Punggol Digital District https://www.jtc.gov.sg/industrial-land-and-space/Pages/punggol-digital-district.aspx , 2.& 3. A.O.G
One of many Chelsea Flower Show Gardens that deserves special attention is The Lemon Tree Garden, which directly referred to the issue of mental health. Inspired by the resilience, originality and determination of refugees living in Domiz camp in Northern Iraq was designed with their involvement and highlights the unexpected beauty and power hidden in the refugee camps. Designer aimed to show how plants can improve people’s wellbeing.
The traditional Islamic style was kept by star shaped water feature, radiating water rills and elaborate metal and wood fretwork screens. Channels of water provide fresh, cooling atmosphere, representing at the same time the importance of reused grey water in the Iraq’s camps. Very simple materials that can be found in real camp such as concrete and steel, were used . Food plants were placed in cans and recycled plastic bottles attached to a very interesting “innovation wall”.
The planting included the pomegranate trees, figs, single roses, alliums, dazzling blue flowered Anchusa, the impressive lemon tree as well as herbs used in Middle Eastern cooking. These fragrant herbs could have a great impact on mind and mood. All these are reminders of refugees homeland. Resting between them make us more relaxed and smiley.
People in camps create gardens and take care of them with aim to provide food but also to keep themselves in good mental and physical condition. Possibility of growing and taking care of plants, herbs, vegetables is a great chance to socialize what means it improves social functioning and emotional well-being. The garden with its amazing plants can be the gate to escape from cruel reality , bring the solace and positive energy. The garden is a place that no matter where you are, you can relate to.
The Lemon Tree Trust supports and encourages the refugees to build camp gardens where they can grow food, create sense of beauty; seek and promote, a very important, community well-being and identity.
We had the pleasure to speak to Professor Chang after his presentation at the IFLA World Congress 2018 in Singapore, and ask him questions about the newest research endeavors of his team, the demands and limitations of clinical studies on landscapes, the challenges of interdisciplinary research and future opportunities in the area.