In times of increasing heatwaves people need cool places to stay healthy. But how do you create cool circumstances in urban outdoor spaces? And how do you involve citizens, stakeholders and future users in creating these places in their environment? And what are the actual effects of these spaces on physical and mental health?

Scientists and experts in their field gave their views on these current issues followed by good practices during the joint webinar “Cool and Healthy – Cool Towns meets Health & Greenspace” on Monday 21 June 2021.

Dr. Gerard van Keken: Remarkable identity /  Merkwaardige Identiteit

Dr. Gerard van Keken is both a researcher and a practicioner on the subject of identies of places and strategies of place branding and place making. What can be done in adapting and  transforming places by using the knowledge, culture and the people (stakeholders) of places to make places sustainable, resilient and ready for future challenges, are assignments for his research and projects in his researchfirm ‘Remarkable Identitiy’.

Our governing authorities are increasingly constructing and creating green infrastructure and green places in order to make cities climate proof and deal with relatively new challenges on heat and water. This has also effects on the health, wellbeing and welfare of people living there. The benefits of green infrastructure and green places are widely known and recognized, but explaining them to the citizens and stakeholders is a challenge. From reactive policies to pro-active policies, and from inactive to active. Participating in the planning process can create involved and engaged stakeholders and a search for added values that can benefit multiple stakeholders.

Crucial is that stakeholders are taking ownership of green places in several ways. Taking ownership and feeling responsible creates conditions for long term engagement. Lessons learned from the case of Molenwaterpark in Middelburg, the South-West of the Netherlands, an example of effective stakeholder management.

Watch the presentation by Gerard van Keken

Dr. Jolanda Maas: Vitamin G: the importance of green space for our health

Assistant Professor, section Clinical Psychology of the Department of Clinical, Neuro- and Developmental psychology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

PhD research Vitaming G: Green environments – Healthy environments (2009). Green space is an interesting instrument to use if you want to stimulate residents health as contact with green space can stimulate people’s physical and mental wellbeing in different ways. During her presentation Dr. Jolanda Maas will first inform you about the importance of green space for our health. She will then discuss how the knowledge on the importance of green space can be applied in the work-, school- and care environment. Questions she will answer are ‘What are the health effects of implementing green space in the work, school and care environment? and  ‘What are barriers and facilitators of implementing healthy green space?’.

Watch the presentation by Jolanda Maas