In developing a sustainable city, most efforts align with the goals and targets of national and regional plans. However, creating green and healthy communities requires rich sets of environmental data at the neighborhood level that is accessible and easy to understand by diverse stakeholders, especially local residents.
UrbanCare is a systematic observation method to collect, analyze, and easily visualize climate and health neighborhood data.
At a specific urban site, quantitative data is collected for urban heat, surface runoff, and biotope loss which negatively impact soil, water, and air quality.
This urban degradation data is translated into intuitive and easily readable infographics for a diverse audience to understand regardless of age and cultural and literary background.
Then the data is presented through a web-based immersive journey for participants to navigate their daily life in urban scenes such as Google Streets does, but not from a vehicle perspective but a pedestrian perspective. The immersive journey allows participants to click on icons to display the climate-related infographics at each urban scene. It helps the participant be informed and rate public transportation stops and stations, street crossings, free-seating (or the lack of), and entrances to priority destinations such as schools, playgrounds, and parks.
This participatory process gathers qualitative data critical to conducting decision-making workshops and other planning practices that create evidence-based action plans.
Since the Summer of 2021, UrbanCare has been used to structure cases for urban health in collaboration with institutes in different climate zones, such as the Oceanic in Gothenburg with Chalmers University, Continental in Berlin with the Technical University of Berlin, Intermediterranean in Florence with UNIFI, and the Mediterranean climate in Nicosia with the University of Cyprus. This experience has strengthened inter-institutional collaboration and initiated an innovative capacity-building approach that will renew knowledge and practical training in areas of: (i) Data Management; (ii) Environmental Health Impact Assessment; (iii) Urban Health Policy Planning; (iv) Health-centred Urban Planning and Design and; (v) Urban Health and Development Management.
Our collective mission is to collaborate with institutions and individuals from countries on other continents in disseminating the lessons learned, methods, and tools used in UrbanCare to continue solving spatial issues impacting urban health at the neighborhood level. Especially for data gathering and processing in locations where information is inexistent, limited, or inaccessible at this urban scale.
The UrbanCare project will continue development in the next two years as a collaborative and inclusive process that will allow participants to contribute and evaluate the learning quality experience in every step and the results from the co-creation phases.