Archivo de la categoría: EVENTS

UNI-Health starts in Madrid!

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.


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. 


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

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

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:

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!

Letter of Barbara Douglas, member of the Elders Council in UK and member of VOICE:

It has been a real pleasure and a privilege to be involved in this project. 

I was very impressed with the quality of the presentations by the students and the range and depth of data they presented.  Although they came from different perspectives, a number of common themes were emerging which could provide an opportunity for collaboration between the groups as they move towards suggested projects/solutions.  It was great to have the opportunity to go to Usera and see it for ourselves, as it put all the presentations in context.

I appreciate the challenges which you face in accessing health data (e.g. healthy life expectancy; prevalence of diseases) within the timescales of the project.  This must be quite frustrating for you, as if this were coupled with the data the students have collected, it would make a very powerful argument for change and improvement.  I meant to ask whether you can access social care data which would give you information about the numbers of people who need social care support to enable them to live independently?  It would at least give a bit of additional information about the lives of older people living in the area.

I know the older people mentioned the issue of transport across the district given the length of time it takes some of them to walk to health or community facilities, especially given the topography of the area.  I fully appreciate that for people with mobility issues, the lack of transport can be absolutely critical in enabling them to get out about.  However, I also wondered whether, if the walking routes were more pleasant and people had incentives to walk to maintain/improve their health, there might be an opportunity in this for a walking group/programme? This idea probably won’t be popular with the older people, but I am also mindful of the big posters we saw in the Metro about the need for more physical activity!  Would there be any help or investment from the public health department in supporting this?

It was interesting to hear about the large numbers of festivals in the area and how these can provide an opportunity for the different cultures in Usera to come together.  I was wondering whether these might provide an opportunity for creative engagement of the people in the neighbourhood around the issues you have identified?

The exhibition/festival that you are planning sounds really good.  You mentioned inviting local people and holding a session for businesses, however, I wonder whether you will also be engaging local associations and NGOs working in the area as they may also be very helpful partners in taking ideas forward locally.   As Rose mentioned, it would be good to have a few ‘quick wins’ which would help to build the confidence of people living in working in the area that change can happen.

Whilst what you have presented is quite a big challenge, the research and analysis the students have done so far is very rich material for the Municipality and others to use in making arguments for change and improvement.   So it seems to me that you have already created a very valuable resource, as well as giving students a very broad and rich experience.  All the very best for the next stage of the project.

Thank you for your warm hospitality and for all the inspiration.

Thanks to you, Barbara and Rose, for accompanying us in such an interesting session!

UNI-Health Team



Dear all,

We would like to invite you to the next session on 8th April in Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid in Sala de Grados B.

The session will present the project UNI-Health and generate a common discussion about the diagnosis. Newcastle Team, experts on Innovation on Ageing, Elderly local agents and local administration will be invited and participate of this common session.

At the end of the session we will collect the contact data from all the interested people that would like to attend to Newcastle edition in the next semester (October 2019)


Hope to meet you there!

UNI-Health Team