BlueHealth on the radio and new toolbox

Mat White and Jo Garret talked about the BlueHealth project on BBC Radio Four’s All in the Mind programme – you can listen to it on BBC Sounds (it starts at about 01:00) and here is the BBC’s description of the segment:

Blue Health and well-being
During lockdown many people have said how they value getting out in nature more than ever. But is there something extra special about getting out into places where there is water? This doesn’t just have to mean the seaside. Could a river, canal or even a fountain in a park make us feel better? Dr Mathew White, senior lecturer in social and environmental psychology at Exeter University, is part of a large research project across eighteen countries called Blue Health. Dr Jo Garrett is a researcher in coastal environments and human health, and they discuss their latest research into pinning down the benefits of aquatic environments on our well-being.

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The BlueHealth project team have also recently released the BlueHealth Toolbox. The toolbox was developed to help maximise the health and wellbeing benefits of blue spaces while protecting the environment.

The BlueHealth Toolbox is for planners, designers and other decision-makers responsible for blue spaces. The tools provide the means to make comparable assessments of urban blue spaces before and after any proposed changes. Such changes can include a wide range of interventions, from physical alterations to the environment to advertising campaigns that influence how people interact with it. The tools provide evidence about the quality of blue environments, as well as information about how people and communities use, perceive and interact with blue spaces. They also assess the state of people’s health and wellbeing. Together, this evidence can enhance urban planning and design.

The Toolbox includes six online tools. Each provides information linked to a site’s characteristics and works at a particular spatial scale – from site to country-level. The tools have been designed so that they can be used at any point when a blue space is being modified, but are most effective when used pre, during and post-intervention. The Toolbox consists of:

  1. Environmental Assessment Tool (BEAT)
  2. Decision Support tool (DST)
  3. Behavioural Assessment Tool (BBAT)
  4. Community Level Survey (BCLS)
  5. SoftGIS
  6. International Survey (BIS)

Visit the BlueHealth project website to download the toolbox and read more about each component.

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