The annual meeting of the BlueHealth project brought together 65 researchers from 9 European institutions on 30 and 31 March. The aim of the project, funded by the Horizon 2020 programme, is to generate new evidence in an area that has received little attention: the influence of blue spaces—such as rivers and seas—on people’s health and well-being. The meeting took place at ISGlobal’s Campus Mar in the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB).
Europe has 91,000 km of coastline and more than half of its population lives within 50 km of the sea. The aim of BlueHealth is to investigate whether a utilitarian network of blue spaces could help to address major public health challenges—such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles and mental health disorders—and adapt these spaces to climate change. The BlueHealth project follows in the footsteps of PHENOTYPE, a research initiative funded by the EU and coordinated by ISGlobal, which provided evidence on the health benefits of green spaces.
At the meeting in Barcelona, researchers and professionals from various disciplines discussed the progress of BlueHealth and shared their views on the approaches of the various studies being carried out as part of the project.
BlueHealth will conduct 20 studies in 7 different research areas. Three of these studies are being carried out by ISGlobal under the leadership of Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, Director of the Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative:
- Evaluation of physical activity levels before and after construction work to improve access to the Besòs River (Montcada i Reixac)
- Analysis of the ways that walking in different environments can benefit Barcelona’s office workers
- A project in Rubí to restore the Can Moritz modernist spring
Click here to see the full list of studies.