Welcome to UNI-Health

Welcome to UNI-Health 2019!

Last Monday we had the pleasure to start the program UNI-Health in Madrid, at the School of Architecture of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.

From this week until April, we will be covering different problematics and topics related with urban health, active and healthy ageing, climate change and citizen participation.

Professor Ester Higueras inaugurated the course, explaining the EIT Health European program and UNI-Health project, in collaboration with Newcastle University.

For the first session, we had the honour to have Professor José Fariña as spokesman. He contextualized the problem of health in cities and he introduced the main aspects that urban planning should focus on nowadays in order to create healthier environments:

  • Cities for walk
  • Nature in the city
  • Spaces for meeting and exchange

Source: UNI-Health Team Photography

After sharing lunch together to start meeting each others, in the afternoon we had two interesting presentations.

Gonzalo Navarrete, architect from Estudio Improvistos, explained us the methodology they have developed for the Urban Renovation Areas in Madrid. They have proposed a set of guidelines and actions aiming to improve the conditions for climatic comfort and livable spaces through the Program of Urban Renovation.

Source: https://www.improvistos.org/es/inicio/

Then, Marcos Montes, architect from GEA21 showed us the projects of a couple of areas in deeper detail in Usera district. The design of a urban project is not easy, taking into account all the aspects that the Renovation Plan suggested, assuring accessibility, bioclimatic comfort and improving quality of public spaces.

Usera main renovation projects. 

Source: https://planmadre.madrid.es/

At the end of the session, Professor Emilia Román explained the dynamic of the workshop we are going to follow during the next weeks. A group of 18 students with different profiles have engaged this first edition of the innovative program focusing on URBAN HEALTH and ACTIVE AGEING.

We all hope to create a unique environment of exchange knowledge and multiple points of view for this common issue which is URBAN HEALTH and how to create AGE-FRIENDLY ENVIRONMENTS for all.

See you next week!

UNI-Health Team

What’s UNI-Health?

UNI-Health is an European Knowledge Exchange and Innovation Training Program engaging students and researchers from EU Universities in the production of a database of technological advances improving urban health conditions. This first edition has been designed by:

Want to get involved?

Write to us: uni-health [at] upm.es

We are looking for partners and collaborators to replicate it in further editions!

Project supported by EIT HEALTH

 

 

Streets from Usera full of garbage

News today about the unhealthy conditions of the streets in Usera. We have already seen the problems in the neighborhood about the bad maintenance and lack of responsability regarding dog’s excrements or locating garbage containers just in the middle of pedestrian crossings and paths. Small actions that could make a big different on the image of the neighborhood.

http://www.telemadrid.es/programas/madrid-directo/basura-calles-Usera-incivismo-2-2136406391–20190702080430.html

La atención a las personas mayores, clave en la planificación de las ciudades del futuro

El informe “Cities Alive: Designing for Ageing Communities” publicado por la empresa ARUP, consultora internacional socia en el proyecto UNI-Health, pone de relieve la necesidad de que el conjunto de planificadores, diseñadores y autoridades locales aboguen por modelos de ciudad que incorporen medidas para adaptarse a las necesidades de las personas mayores.

Las cuatro estrategias que se identifican son: independencia, salud y bienestar, conectividad social y seguridad y resiliencia (noticia completa aquí).

Estas cuatro líneas de trabajo se integran en las tres estrategias que desde UNI-Health estamos desarrollando en el grupo de investigación:

  • Ciudades para pasear: una ciudad que permita pasear, salir a la calle, encontrarse con los vecinos del barrio, hacer la compra o ir a una cafetería, es una ciudad que favorece la independencia de las personas y la autonomía no solo de las personas mayores, si no también de niños y niñas, personas con discapacidad y mejora la seguridad y accesibilidad en cuestión de movilidad.
  • La naturaleza en la ciudad: están demostrados los beneficios que los espacios verdes tienen sobre nuestra salud, desde la reducción del estrés, calidad del aire e incluso está relacionado con los índices de obesidad y sobrepeso en función de la distancia a la que exista un parque de nuestras viviendas y espacios de trabajo. Los espacios verdes constituyen además el lugar de encuentro predilecto para distintas generaciones, favoreciendo lugares de encuentro y actividades abiertas a distintos grupos culturales, deportivos y comunitarios. Por otra parte, también está demostrada la influencia que tienen en la reducción de los niveles de contaminación y la necesidad de incorporar espacios naturales y soluciones técnicas vegetales en las ciudades, para asegurar la resiliencia de éstas frente a los efectos del cambio climático y la isla de calor urbana.
  • Espacios de convivencia: plazas, parques, espacios estanciales de proximidad, seguros, confortables y adaptados para todos los usuarios son necesarios en términos de seguridad, cohesión social y salud. Uno de los mayores problemas de las personas mayores es la soledad no deseada, problema que en grandes metrópolis afecta también a jóvenes, y guarda una relación directa con problemas de estrés, insomnio y depresión. Estos espacios son necesarios, pero para que cumplan su función, han de ser diseñados con ciertos criterios que inviten a la gente a sentarse, encontrarse y disfrutar de la compañía de los demás.

Los beneficios de un diseño inclusivo que responda a las necesidades de los sectores de la población más vulnerables (principalmente personas mayores, personas dependientes, personas con discapacidad, infancia y mujeres, sobre todo en estado de gestación) permiten la creación de espacios inclusivos y saludables para toda la población.

UNI-Health finally arrived to Usera District on June! (Part III)

The festival ended with a workshop session with companies, start-ups and researchers to meet common interests and strategic lines towards healthier cities.

Our partners from Newcastle presented the innovative ideas they are developing at the National Innovation Centre of Ageing. They are focusing on adaptive design and innovation pilot projects of ergonomic furniture, facilities and housing alternatives. PhD Dominic Aitken presented the main results of an interesting work about housing alternatives for elderly and how the whole services of cities have to start adapting offer to this heterogeneous sector of the population. Integrating Elderly VOICE in decission-making and design process puts the focus of the Person-Centered Methodology applied to product and service design, towards more inclusive communities.

The different companies and start-ups explained their products and innovation projects to improve urban spaces. We covered topics such as pavements and accessibility, nature-based solutions, sensors and monitoring, data visualisation and urban renovation.

The presentations showed diverse solutions that are innovating towards healthier
and more sustainable environments and urban spaces.

The session continued with a workshop dynamic to think about further research and product design in the three strategic lines we are considering for healthier cities:

  • Walkable streets
  • Nature in cities
  • Spaces of conviviality

The groups were heterogeneous in order to mix all points of view, including international scope, researchers, companies and health professionals. The results showed the possibilities for different sectors in order to develop new services and products that can answer to the new requirements for our neighborhoods, demographic new challenges and cities.

The results were collected in three strategic lines, available in the exhibition and will open new paths for collaborations, I+D projects and innovative solutions.

UNI-Health Workshop results with companies, health professionals and researchers.

We want to thank you all the participation and support of the following companies and institutions that joined this session:

UNI-Health finally arrived to Usera District on June! (Part II)

Thursday evening we had the presentation of the results of the seminars in Usera District Council. UNI-Health and MAyAB students presented their work to the citizens of the neighborhood, the Social Services team, Madrid Salud and the different representants of associations as well as other collaborators and interested partners that joined us.

UNI-Health presentation for local agents in Usera District Council.

UNI-Health program was introduced by the Director of the project, Prof. Ester Higueras from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. The strategic lines that have been studied during this first edition “Active Ageing Cities” were:

  • Streets for walking
  • Nature in the city
  • Spaces for conviviality

Under these three main topics, students explained the diagnosis developed during these past months about thermal comfort, heat island effect, noise pollution, maintenance of green areas, social equipments and services, transportation system, etc.

UNI-Health students explaining the proposals to make Usera greener and healthier.

Students from Master of Bioclimatic Architecture and Environment (MAyAB) also participated to complete the proposals for improving the healthy spaces in the neighborhood. Prof. Teresa Eiroa and Emilia Román presented the main objectives of this first reapplication of UNI-Health methodology adapted to the master program. In this context, students were asked to create proposals under the structure “Agenda 21” and action lines towards the same three strategies mentioned above.

MAyAB reapplication of the UNI-Health methodology
in order to consider health issues in urban renovation strategies.

Many strategies and ideas were highlighted, from the big boulevards that will require further definition for the projects to the little call-to-action proposals such as competitions for greening the balconies or tactical urbanism ideas to introduce improvements from a very first moment and start to raise awareness.

Cristina Gallego and Elisa Pozo, coordinators of the project, highlighted the aim of developing this research and reinforce connections with the neighborhood and local agents.

The event finished in the exhibition hall to show all the results of this program, where we met with neighbors and associations and start thinking about further development and research.

UNI-Health finally arrived to Usera District on June! (Part I)

UNI-Health Team. Itinerary to think about green connectivity in the most dense tissue of the district.

Thursday morning we visited the neighborhood with some of the representants of the Elderly Council, our Newcastle partners and students and UNI-Health ones. The main object of this itinerary was to analyse the connections of green areas in the north part of the district (Almendrales-Moscardó). We started our trip in front of Mercado de Usera (Usera Metro Station) and continue our way through the street Marcelo Usera until we reached Olof Palme Park. At this point, we made a little stop to talk about the things we have notices in this walk. First, it was very interesting to notice how green spaces are usually percieved as fresh and healthy areas, whereas this district is surrounded by the main pollutant roads of Madrid plus the Heat Island Effect, that increase the problems associated to air quality and heat stress. The street of Marcelo Usera was perceived as noisy and dirty, but the shops and activity were identified as interesting and vibrant points to be maintainted and reinforced, maybe with more pedestrian places to stay and sit. The elderly completed this perception with some interesting information about some of the spaces and services that are still in the neighborhood after more than 50 years.

The lack of accessibility in this neighborhood is evident and it supposes a challenge. However, this might be something to be solved by technicians but there are other problems in the neighborhood that could automatically change some of the mayor health problems. The lack of responsability for the dog’s poo are one of the main problems in the public space, not only parks and gardens, but streets and squares. This issue appeals to the responsability of the whole community, but some additional measures could be implemented in order to make the behaviour change faster, such as fines.

We continue our trip down park Olof Palme, direction Evangelios Daycare Center. Some spaces such as the Hydrogen Square were evaluated. In this case, it was ashtonishing to see still old phone boxes structures that now just take out space and vissibility. The lack of green spaces and comfortable places to stay is evident. This Square is in fact a crossroad, noisy and unsecure because of the cars.

Continuing down the street Dolores Barranco, we continue to find the same problem of pavements and pedestrian areas, bollards that are also everywhere (in order to avoid cars occupying the space but making it also dangerous to walk) and pedestrian crossings occupied by garbage containers and cars. In any case, everybody showed optimistic about the amount of diverse spaces that appear suddenly in the neighborhood and that could be transformed into a nice staying area to stay in. The rich diversity of cultures of the neighborhood is evident and these spaces could be a great intercultural and intergenerational meeting point.

Finally, we finished our morning trip visiting the Elderly Social Center of Evangelios. There we were welcome by the staff and direction team to explain all the activities and services the elderly have in this center. There were some interesting activities in collaboration with schools and high school centers to promote intergenerational meetings in an exchange session about philosophy, history and psychology, for example. Also a nice initiative that is getting attention is the creation of a urban garden in one of the schools but open to all the associations in the neighborhood, so everybody can take care of this communitary green place.

UNI-Health Teams in front of Evangelios Elderly Social Center

Prevención del envejecimiento imaginario

Previniendo el envejecimiento imaginario

Os invitamos a escuchar a la doctora Paloma Navas en esta charla de TEDx Madrid (Septiembre 2017) donde cuestiona el concepto de envejecimiento, resaltando la importancia que tiene en el envejecimiento activo unos buenos hábitos de vida saludables.

Hace especial hincapié en la importancia de los BARRIOS y los ENTORNOS SALUDABLES, además de las relaciones entre los vecinos y vecinas. Es un complemento muy interesante a los temas tratados durante el curso.

Podéis encontrar más información en su blog: http://www.mayorymejor.com/videos/

Esperamos que lo disfrutéis!

UNI-Health Team

DIAGNOSIS RESULTS by students and FEEDBACK from elderly and experts

Hello to everybody!!!

Last monday 8th April we closed this first seminar of UNI-Health, with a public presentation of the DIAGNOSIS of the neighborhood by students to the Elderly Local Forum of Usera, the Direction of different day-care centers and representant of Social Services of Usera district. We counted as well with our guests from Newcastle University, professor Rose Gilroy and Barbara Douglas and the participation of many experts that have been collaborating with us in this first edition.

UNI-Health Directors with Usera representants: Usera District Council, Elderly Local Forum and Direction of Day-Care Centers.

Students presented by topic groups the diagnosis of the neighborhood, showing all the cartographies and main conclusions about different aspects to take into account regarding urban health. Three main topics were presented: a city to walk, green spaces and spaces for convivence and livability.

SWOT analysis, diagnosis and conclussions from students.

The feedback from the different people from the public was very convenient to consider their daily lives in the analysis and complete the diagnosis with relevant information that they have shared. In the next step, we will work on some strategic proposals to address urban health and active ageing from urban design and urban planning.

Representants from the Elderly Forum of Usera showing relevant information about their neighborhood.

Thanks to the students for this big final effort for the presentations and thank to everybody that came to the presentation. It has been such an interesting exchange! We will come back with news and updates for the preparation of the festival next June 20th and 21st in Usera!

Last but not least, thank you to everybody that have been following UNI-Health program during these months!

Barbara Douglas and Rose Gilroy, from Newcastle, commenting their suggestions for the proposals and what could be done to complete the diagnosis.

You can access all the presentations of the course through this Youtube Channel:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8bSwVy8_IcO-FGb1rmumD1Y6RFvUh1Jg

Please do not hesitate to share this blog, leave a comment or suggestions and contact us if you would like more information about next editions and Newcastle edition next October!

 

UNI-Health Team

uni-health[at]upm.es