The Healthy Communities and Place theme focuses on the physical and social characteristics of communities and the extent to which they enable and promote health and well-being. There is a social gradient in relation to the level of ‘healthy’ community characteristics of communities, for example, access to good quality, useable green-space, access to affordable nutritious food, and good quality housing options, as well as differences in levels of social capital.
The role of natural environments and green space in determining the health of local populations is an area of specialist interest to CHAD.
Social capital underpins ‘social connectedness’ between people and between communities and provides a buffer against risks of poor health. The Marmot Review (2010) sets outs six policy objectives that are required to reduce health inequalities. Included in those objectives is the need to create and develop healthy and sustainable communities and place.
Empowering individuals and local communities to participate in their communities and have more control over their own lives has the potential to reduce health inequalities through contributing to psycho-social wellbeing, and as a result to improvements in other health outcomes.
CHAD projects that sit within this theme are:
- Healthy urban planning
- Go GREEN Ex
- Stress recovery
- CHAD Community Action Network (CHAD CAN!)
Positive health effects on the natural outdoor environment in typical populations of different regions in Europe (PHENOTYPE)
There is evidence that contact with natural environments is beneficial to human health and wellbeing, but the mechanisms are not well understood. PHENOTYPE was a four-year European-funded, multi-country project intended to provide a better understanding of the potential mechanisms, and better integration of human health needs into land use planning and green space management.
PHENOTYPE investigated the underlying mechanisms in different population groups using a range of research methods. The project further examined the effects of different characteristics of the natural outdoor environment, and address the implications for land-use planning and green space management.
Find out more information here: http://www.phenotype.eu/en
Gidlow et al. Development of the natural environment scoring tool (NEST). Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 2018, 29: p322-333
Triguero-Mas, Margarita, Donaire-Gonzalez, David, Seto, Edmund, Valentín, Antònia, Smith, Graham, Martínez, David, Carrasco-Turigas, Glòria, Masterson, Daniel, van den Berg, Magdalena, Ambròs, Albert , Martínez-Íñiguez, Tania, Dedele, Audrius, Hurst, Gemma, Ellis, Naomi, Grazulevicius, Tomas, Voorsmit, Martin, Cirach, Marta , Cirac-Claveras, Judith, Swart, Wim, Clasquin, Eddy, Maas, Jolanda, Wendel-Vos, Wanda, Jerrett, Michael, Gražulevičienė, Regina, Kruize, Hanneke, Gidlow, Christopher J, Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark J. Living Close to Natural Outdoor Environments in Four European Cities: Adults’ Contact with the Environments and Physical Activity. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017;14.
Triguero-Mas M, Donaire-Gonzalez D, Seto E, Valentín A, Martínez D, Smith G, Hurst, Gemma Carrasco-Turigas, Glòria Masterson, Daniel, van den Berg, Magdalena, Ambròs, Albert, Martínez-Íñiguez, Tania ,Dedele, Audrius, Ellis, Naomi, Grazulevicius, Tomas, Voorsmit, Martin, Cirach, Marta, Cirac-Claveras, Judith, Swart, Wim, Clasquin, Eddy, Ruijsbroek, Annemarie, Maas, Jolanda, Jerret, Michael, Gražulevičienė, Regina, Kruize, Hanneke, Gidlow, Christopher J, Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark J. Natural outdoor environments and mental health: Stress as a possible mechanism. Environ Res. 2017;159:629–38.
Ruijsbroek A, Droomers M, Kruize H, van Kempen E, Gidlow CJ, Hurst G, Andrusaityte S, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Maas J, Hardyns W, Stronks K, Groenewegen PP: Does the Health Impact of Exposure to Neighbourhood Green Space Differ between Population Groups? An Explorative Study in Four European Cities. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2017, 14. http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/14/6/618
Smith G, Cirach M, Swart W, Dėdelė A, Gidlow C, van Kempen E, Kruize H, Gražulevičienė R, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ: Characterisation of the natural environment: quantitative indicators across Europe. Int J Health Geogr 2017, 16:16.
Ruijsbroek A, Mohnen SM, Droomers M, Kruize H, Gidlow C, Gražulevičiene R, Andrusaityte S, Maas J, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Triguero-Mas M, Masterson D, Ellis N, van Kempen E, Hardyns W, Stronks K, Groenewegen PP: Neighbourhood green space, social environment and mental health: an examination in four European cities. Int J Public Health 2017:1–11.
Zijlema WL, Triguero-Mas M, Smith G, Cirach M, Martinez D, Dadvand P, Gascon M, Jones M, Gidlow C, Hurst G, Masterson D, Ellis N, van den Berg M, Maas J, van Kamp I, van den Hazel P, Kruize H, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Julvez. The relationship between natural outdoor environments and cognitive functioning and its mediators. Environ Res. 2017, 27;155:268-275.
Triguero-Mas M, Gidlow CJ, Martínez D, de Bont J, Carrasco-Turigas G, Martínez-Íñiguez T, et al. The effect of randomised exposure to different types of natural outdoor environments compared to exposure to an urban environment on people with indications of psychological distress in Catalonia. PLoS One; 2017, 1;12(3):e0172200.
Gidlow, C.J., Smith, G., Martinez, D., Wilson, R., Trinder, P., Gražulevičienė, R. and Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J. Research note: Natural environments and prescribing in England. Landscape and Urban Planning. 2016.doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2016.02.002
Gidlow, C.J., Randall, J., Gillman, J., Smith, G.R. and Jones, M.V. Natural environments and chronic stress measured by hair cortisol. Landscape and Urban Planning, 2016, 148, pp.61-67.
van den Berg, M., van Poppel, M., van Kamp, I., Andrusaityte, S., Balseviciene, B., Cirach, M., Danileviciute, A., Ellis, N., Hurst, G., Masterson, D. and Smith, G., Triguero-Mas M , Uzdanaviciute I , Wit Pd , Mechelen Wv , Gidlow C , Grazuleviciene R , Nieuwenhuijsen MJ , Kruize H , Maas J.. Visiting green space is associated with mental health and vitality: A cross-sectional study in four European cities. Health & Place. 2016, 38:8-15.
Gidlow, C.J., Jones, M. V., Hurst, G., Masterson, D., Clark-Carter, D., Tarvainen, M. P., Smith, G. & Nieuwenhuijsen, M. Where to put your best foot forward: Psycho-physiological responses to walking in natural and urban environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 2015, 45:22-29. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2015.11.003
McEachan, R, Prady, S.L., Smith, G., Fairley, L., Cabieses, B., Gidlow, C., Wright, J., Dadvand, P., van Gent, D., Nieuwenhuijsen, MJ. The association between green space and depressive symptoms in pregnant women: moderating roles of socio-economic status and physical activity. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. doi:10.1136/jech-2015-205954; jech-2015.
Grazuleviciene, R., Vencloviene, J., Kubilius, R., Grizas, V., Dedele, A., Grazulevicius, T., Ceponiene, I., Tamuleviciute-Prasciene, E., Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J., Jones, M. and Gidlow, C. The Effect of Park and Urban Environments on Coronary Artery Disease Patients: A Randomized Trial. BioMed Research International, 2015, 403012, 9, 2015.
Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, Kruize H, Gidlow C, et al. Positive health effects of the natural outdoor environment in typical populations in different regions in Europe (PHENOTYPE): a study programme protocol. BMJ Open. April 1, 2014 2014;4(4).
Dadvand, P., Wright, J., Martinez, D., Basagaña, X., McEachan, R.R., Cirach, M., Gidlow, C.J., de Hoogh, K., Gražulevičienė, R. and Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J . Inequality, green spaces, and pregnant women: roles of ethnicity and individual and neighbourhood socioeconomic status. Environment international 2014, 71:101-108.
Healthy Urban Planning
The way we perceive and interact with the surrounding built and natural environment has a profound impact on our health. From exposure to air pollution to access to local greenspace, our behaviour, quality of life and ultimately our life expectancy can be influenced by our surroundings.
In collaboration with Stoke-on-Trent City Council, CHAD had tried to apply findings from the latest research to inform the Joint Local Plan for Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme. This work involved conducting research into the area of health and planning in order to:
- Listen and explore the challenges experienced by planners
- Provide evidence for the inclusion of health in planning decisions
- Incorporate a health perspective into the Local Plan and other policies
- Act as a planning specialist and consultant throughout the development management process
Applying these into both practice and local policy, CHAD is helping to ensure that our research has a positive impact on our surrounding environment. This project is also helping to shape national policy by providing guidance to Public Health England on the National Planning Policy Guidance and to develop a Healthy Urban Planning Indicator.
This work has been recognised by the Town and County Planning Association and featured in their latest publication on ’reuniting health and planning’
Going Outdoors: Gathering Research Evidence on ENvironment and Exercise (Go GReen Ex)
This is a network of academics, practitioners and public with interest in the health and psychological benefits of exercise in natural environments (or ‘green exercise’) led my Dr Tadhg MacIntyre, University of Limerick. There is convergent evidence that being active in natural environments confers additional psychological benefits to the equivalent activity in urban or indoor environments. CHAD researchers are members of this international network to undertake research and joint publications with a specific remit of developing and testing interventions to maximise the benefits of natural environment engagement.
Find out more information here: http://www.gogreenex.org
Donnelly AA, MacIntyre TE, O’Sullivan N, Warrington G, Harrison AJ, Igou ER, Jones M, Gidlow C, Brick N, Lahart I, Cloak R and Lane AM. Environmental influences on elite sport athletes well being: From gold, silver, and bronze to blue green and gold. Front. Psychol. 2016;7.
Stress recovery during exposure to natural and urban environments – Multilab Replication Project of Ulrich 1991
We are one of 10 research centres, internationally, participating in a replication of the seminal 1991 experiment of Ulrich, which demonstrated the stress recovery potential of natural environments. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), 2018-2019.
Find out more information here: https://www.nwo.nl/en/research-and-results/research-projects/i/48/29548.html
International Physical activity and Environment Network (IPEN)
CHAD researchers are involved in the International Physical Activity Network (IPEN) study. Funded by NIH’s National Cancer Institute, this 15-country study allowed further collection on environmental determinants of physical activity and health in Stoke-on-Trent, which began with a previous MRC-funded project. Collection of survey and GIS data in the UK and other countries using a common approach will enable pooled analyses to examine how specific environmental attributes are related to physical activity using data from a range of diverse environments.
Find out more information here: http://www.ipenproject.org
Schipperijn, J., Cerin, E., Adams, M. A., Reis, R., Smith, G., Cain, K., Christiansen, Lars B, van Dyck, Delfien, Gidlow, Christopher, Frank, Lawrence D, Mitáš, Josef, Pratt, Michael, Salvo, Deborah, Schofield, Grant, Sallis, James F. (2017). Access to parks and physical activity: An eight country comparison. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 27(Supplement C), 253–263. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ufug.2017.08.010
Doctoral research projects in natural environment and health
We have two PhD students undertaking research related to natural environments and health:
Claudia Lega – exploring the extent and duration of cognitive benefits of engaging with natural environment and health. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Patricia Darcy – exploring the potential of natural environment engagement as therapy for chronic pain. (email@example.com)
CHAD Community Action Network (CHAD CAN!)
CHAD is committed to carrying out locally relevant research, which makes a real difference to people’s health and wellbeing in our region and beyond. In order to achieve this, we are establishing a community action research network. The purpose of this network is to meaningfully connect and engage with our local communities to identify what matters to them and how they are already making a difference in their communities. Taking an assets based approach, the goal is to develop a collaboration with people who are active in their communities, to support the development of a social movement of community based participatory research as the basis for community-led regeneration.
The first step towards establishing a Community Action Network CHAD took place in the form of a special event entitled The BIG Community Conversation which took place on Wednesday 7th June 2017, the event was repeated on Wednesday 9th May 2018. The Big Community Conversation is a celebration of the work that people in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire do to make a difference in their communities, exploring how community research can support community action.