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Welcome to the 1st issue of the IWUN project newsletter. We would love to hear your thoughts on our e-newsletter, so please send us your views, comments or suggestions and share your IWUN news with us for the next newsletter.  Get in touch by email: iwun@sheffield.ac.uk
Dr Anna Jorgensen, Lead Researcher
Welcome to the first issue of the IWUN project newsletter.  This first issue provides an outline of the overall aims of the project and an overview of the activities which have taken place to date.

Our quarterly newsletters will provide updates and news from IWUN as the project progresses.   We will also get to know the researchers involved in the project. In this issue, we hear from Dr Kirsten McEwan about the IWUN Smartphone app.  Dr Jo Birch, Researcher on Workpackage 2, also tells us about her research and work on the project.

Since the launch event in October 2016, IWUN has already come a long way.  We have welcomed new members to the project team and launched the project website www.iwun.uk. We have continued to meet with and develop our relationship with our stakeholders. We also made a submission to the Future of Public Parks Inquiry. Recently we held very productive and interesting meeting which included workshops on Mental Health and Natural Capital Accounting.  We are co-hosting a monthly seminar series on the relationship between health and wellbeing and the natural environment with the Department of Landscape- for more information about forthcoming events and how to register see below.

We hope you enjoy the first issue of the newsletter.  We would love to hear your views, comments or suggestions for future articles or features. If you would like to make any comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us on iwun@sheffield.ac.uk.
About IWUN
 
Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN) is a three-year research project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council’s Valuing Nature Programme. It aims to find out more about how Sheffield’s natural environment can improve the health and wellbeing of the city’s residents, and especially those with disproportionately high levels of poor health.

The project, led by Dr Anna Jorgensen at the University of Sheffield, brings academics from the universities of Sheffield, Derby, and Heriot-Watt together with the Wildlife Trusts, Recovery Enterprises and the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare. We will use a range of methods, including a specially designed smartphone app, to investigate people’s relationships with Sheffield’s parks and green spaces.
IWUN Project Team
How will we do this?

The project will be delivered in four work packages:
  1. An epidemiological study of Sheffield focusing on the relationships between natural environment characteristics, health inequalities, deprivation and natural environment usage.
  2. A study of the values and beliefs relating to natural environments and health and wellbeing, focusing on low users
  3. A large-scale study of the characteristics of the natural environment and natural environment experience associated with health and wellbeing based on data collection via a smartphone App.
  4. An integrative work package synthesising the project findings into a new ‘Green Blue Infrastructure-Green Health Guide’, developing a Green Blue Infrastructure valuation framework analysing the costs and benefits of different interventions for the delivery of a range of ecosystems services, exploring the barriers to implementation and developing new governance and policy structures and frameworks for delivery of a new green paradigm for wellbeing across the public, private and third sectors.
Read More
Meet the IWUN Team
Jo Birch, Research Associate (WP2)
Jo Birch

Jo Birch is the research associate working on WP2, which focusses on values and beliefs held about nature and wellbeing. Jo joined IWUN in January 2017.

This spring, I will begin interviews with 60 people within three age/life stage groups to hear personal stories of nature connections.  From these interviews and follow up focus groups, we wonder whether we might hear of kinds of nature contact which are different from those associated with visiting a green public space.  Will we hear stories that don’t fit with stereotypes? Will we see examples of memory, childhood experiences, and cultural heritage shaping values of nature, all of which point to wellbeing implications in aging and culturally diverse urban populations? We think so.  Along the way, we’ll be talking over our questions and findings with our WP2 advisory group. We look forward to our first meeting in March.

In autumn this year I’ll be involved in 3 co-produced projects with mental health service users who share a ‘common’ experience of specific mental health issues. I’ll be connecting with folk from The Arts House and Recovery Enterprises, who will be involved in defining the focus of this work, identifying participants and arts practitioners who would like to be involved.  Over the course of 6-8 workshops, arts-based methods will be used for enquiry into and communication of people’s nature contact. Decisions about how to exhibit and share the projects will be led by participants and shared by everyone involved. 

Our team will need to design interviews that ensure that participants don’t feel judged or assessed on the basis of how much they are or aren’t outdoors ‘in nature’. There may be personal stories around health, life-events or mental distress which will need my time and sensitivity as researcher.

To the project, I bring a research background spanning 20 years which has helped me develop interview and research engagement skills with people of different age groups, cultures and backgrounds. Beginning life as a geographer, then a teacher, but going on to work alongside sociologists, anthropologists, architects, education and health care researchers and community nature groups, I have been lucky enough to learn from many fields as I go about understanding people’s connections with space, place and the natural world, whatever that is.  

Time off for good behaviour is often spent contemplating seasonal change and subjecting family and friends to many outdoor mealtimes and under-canvas expeditions. I persuade them to come to music festivals and search for Phlegm’s street art around Sheffield.
Smartphone App
Mapping the good things about Sheffield

Our research team at Derby University are currently developing the IWUN Smartphone app. This app will allow Sheffield residents to notice and map the good things about Sheffield's green and built spaces. With the help of residents we aim to understand how different aspects of city living affect our wellbeing. We hope that the results will inform how city spaces are designed for better wellbeing of Sheffield residents.
We are looking for a small number of residents to take part right now by helping us to test the app and provide feedback its design and usability. If you, or anyone you know would be interested in helping to test the app, get in touch by email: k.mcewan@derby.ac.uk.

We are aiming to launch the finished app in May, at which point we’ll be looking for over 1,000 Sheffield residents to take part in the project of mapping the good things about Sheffield using the app. If you would like to take part, you can get in touch: k.mcewan@derby.ac.uk and we will email you when the project starts.

For more information about the app please visit http://iwun.uk/iwun-app/
Project News
IWUN Project Launch
 
The IWUN project held a launch event at the Workstation back in October 2016.  We invited our partners and stakeholders to join us to find out more about the project and how they can get involved.  The keynote came from one of our Advisory Panel members, Craig Lister, from the Green Gym, who talked about The Natural Health Service: integrating green health initiatives to support the standard medical model and social care delivery.
Dr Anna Jorgensen Introducing the IWUN Project
The event was very well attended with over 70 participants joining us for workshops and discussions about ‘Green Health’ in Sheffield.  We had a great response to our initial ‘Green Health’ Survey, with participants completed a short survey to tell us about green health initiatives in Sheffield and to sign up to get involved in the project.  We thoroughly enjoyed the event and had some really positive feedback!  It was great to meet so many people interested in Green Health in Sheffield and we are already planning our next event!  Keep up to date by joining our mailing list:
Join Mailing List
IWUN Team Workshops
 
As the project has gained momentum during the first 6 months, and most of our researchers have now been appointed, the team took the opportunity at one of our recent meetings to work together on 2 key areas of the project:  Mental Health and Natural Capital Accounting.  Mental health is a key focus of the project and Professor Brendan Stone from the IWUN team lead an interesting and informative discussion on Mental Health.  This raised awareness within the team and was beneficial to the teams working with mental health service users and those developing the app. 

Prof John Henneberry from the IWUN team was joined by Dr Alison Holt from Natural Capital Solutions to talk about the Natural Capital approaches for use in IWUN.  Again, this was a very interesting and informative workshop on how health and wellbeing interventions would impact on the benefits provided by natural capital, so that those benefits can be quantified and valued for inclusion in Cost-Utility Analysis (CUA).
IWUN Website now live:
www.iwun.uk
Upcoming Events
Panacea Green Infrastructure? Multidimensional Contributions to Competitive and Livable Metropolitan Regions in Europe Conference, Essen, Germany, 16th-17th February 2017.
 
Dr Nicola Dempsey will be presenting a paper at Session 1: Social and Health Dimensions of Green Infrastructure and Session 4: Governance/ Long-Term Management Dimensions of Green Infrastructure. See here for full programme: 
 
Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum Keynote Seminar:  Next steps for natural environment policy in England, London, 27th April 2017
 
Dr Anna Jorgenson will be attending the Westminster Forum conference which will provide an opportunity to assess the next steps for biodiversity, wildlife conservation and natural capital.
Health in Place Seminar Series
The aim of this seminar series is to move the agenda on to consider how we might adopt a more structural, systemic and landscape approach to utilising the health and wellbeing benefits of natural environments at a city wide level. The presentations will address a range of issues such as:
  • Relevance of historical precedent
  • Systemic barriers to green health (policy, governance, siloing, budgets, conceptual)
  • What kinds of evidence do we need to overcome these barriers?
  • Anatomy of a healthy city
  • Examples of best practice
  • The limits of a green health approach (who or what are not susceptible to such an approach)
The seminar series is interdisciplinary, and is aimed at both stakeholders and academics.
Dates for your diary
Upcoming Seminars

7th March 2017 - Prof Catharine Ward Thompson, University of Edinburgh - ‘How much green space is enough? Good Enough vs Best Practice' Book your place Here
2nd May 2017 - Dr Dan Bloomfield, University of Exeter - Can a dose of nature become a standard prescription for a mental health problem?
13th June 2017 - Greg Fell, Sheffield City Council - Anatomy of a healthy city
11th July 2017 - Dr Rebecca Lovell, University of Exeter - Is the evidence of links between natural environments and health informing policy and practice?
Our mailing address is:
iwun@sheffield.ac.uk

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