Data from Improving wellbeing through urban nature [IWUN] project

Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN) was a 3 year RCUK-funded research project led by the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield, focusing on addressing gaps in the evidence base concerning the relationship between human health and wellbeing and urban natural environments and utilising the known benefits of connecting and interacting with nature more effectively in local service provision. IWUN was an inter and trans disciplinary project involving three universities (university of Sheffield, University of Derby and Herriot Watt) and external non-academic partners (The Wildlife Trusts, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare and Sheffield Flourish). Different aspects of health and wellbeing were considered but the overall focus was on the role of urban natural environments in sustaining mental health. IWUN had four work packages addressing different aspects of these broad objectives within the city of Sheffield as a case study. The first was an epidemiological work package addressing population level relationships between health and the quantity, quality and distribution of natural environments across the city. The second was a qualitative work package that explored cultures and values of nature and wellbeing across diverse user groups across the city. The third used a specially designed smartphone app, Shmapped, to understand the ways in which people were using green space across the city and whether connecting with nature through an app could help support mental health wellbeing. The fourth and final work package worked with local health and greenspace stakeholders to find out which green space interventions they thought were most likely to benefit people’s health and what the costs and benefits of implementing these interventions would be. The IWUN findings are numerous and complex and are being written up in a series of published papers, full details of which can be found here: http://iwun.uk/publications/. The papers deal with findings from individual workpackages, as well as cross cutting findings across the whole project. In addition to the peer-reviewed papers a series of eight policy and practice briefs and an Atlas of Sheffield’s Green Spaces have been published in order to communicate the findings to a wider audience.

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