During World Water Week (August 26 – 31, 2018), the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM is facilitating a session on Health and Well-being through effective Blue-Green Space Design and Governance. Tuesday, August 28th RIVM, in collaboration with Deltares, the University of Exeter - European Centre for Environment and Human Health and the European Commission will present the latest findings of three EU Horizon2020 research projects related to ecosystems and human health at the conference in Stockholm.
Blue and green spaces are designated public space (urban and coastal) with multiple values and purposes. They may have economic (waterways), ecological (wildlife) and ecosystem services values as for example water retention, drinking water source, wastewater sink or a combination, but first and foremost offer a space for people to come together, interact and recreate and be healthy! Research into the interactions of these values and purposes, best practices and applications is conducted in the three Horizon2020 projects BlueHealth, SOPHIE and INHERIT.
Healthy people in healthy spaces
The three projects have a common denominator: the potential for environmental policy to increase public health, health equity and reduce socio-economic inequalities, by improving environmental quality. RIVM is involved in all three projects, more information is available on our international projects webpage.
Whether concerning the urban, coastal or recreational landscape, the aim of INHERIT, BlueHealth and SOPHIE is to develop integrated assessment approaches, which take into account both risks and opportunities of environmental interventions aimed at adapting to climate change. The objective of all this is informing effective health governance, policy and spatial planning.
BlueHealth and SOPHIE, for instance, consider both public health risks (infectious diseases, water quality) as well as benefits (reduced cardiovascular disease and obesity, higher self-reported well-being). INHERIT underlines the importance of behaviour as a factor for healthy choices. All projects stress the importance of health and wellbeing as factor in the design of public spaces. In a panel discussion, policymakers from different levels and session participants are invited to share their visions on the applicability of these research findings and express further needs.
The World Water Week session on Health and Well-being through Effective Blue-Green Space Design and Governance will be held at the SIWI World Water Week in Stockholm, more information on the website.