A new EU-funded research programme is to connect urban communities in a range of projects that explore the human-nature relationship and its benefits to mental and physical health.
GOGREEN ROUTES will bring together a consortium of 40 partners with the goal of fostering a connectedness to nature, supported by digital innovation. Their work will range from establishing new indicators of outdoor environmental quality that incorporates positive factors such as birdsong and the natural soundscape, to exploring how green corridors impact health, physical activity and active travel.
In a wide-ranging programme that includes contribution from Manchester Metropolitan University, GOGREEN ROUTES seeks to position European cities as world ambassadors of urban sustainability. Part of its work will focus on Generation Z (born after 1996) and how the first generation of digital natives can use technological innovation to support their engagement with the environment. The University of Limerick will specifically investigate whether virtual experiences can provide similar mental health and wellbeing impacts to actually being outdoors.
As the world reacts to the impacts of COVID-19 on our health and lifestyles, the pandemic has demonstrated in dramatic terms how human health is interconnected to biodiversity and the natural world. Spending more time outdoors in greenspace is a key part of the global response and GOGREEN ROUTES will create a living lab approach to explore how we can best augment and maximise the benefits citizens get from being outside.
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