An IoT and crowdsource enabled mobile APP to design healthier and smarter green spaces

Authors: Anant Jani, Richard Fairhurst and Stuart Cole

Emerging evidence suggests that greenspace, whether used for recreation or physical activity (i.e. ‘green exercise’), can improve mental health and wellbeing. Indeed, individuals who use greenspaces or engage in green exercise have less mental distress, less anxiety and depression and healthier cortisol levels.  GreenspaceHack aims to facilitate better design of greenspaces to promote health by providing robust evidence on which characteristics of greenspace citizens value most and which contribute to promoting healthier urban environments at individual and local levels.  The project aims to engage citizens and utilises a crowdsource-enabled smartphone survey based on the validated NEST tool to offer a simple, intuitive method for community groups, parish councils, and other stakeholders to provide information about their local green spaces.

How can this project help me?

The end that GreenspaceHack is trying to achieve is to facilitate the design of better greenspaces that came promote both human and environmental health.  To this end, our objectives tie in strongly with the ethos of both open science and citizen science:

  • To make data available for communities to pursue their own objectives
  • To provide a publicly available open map documenting green spaces
  • To promote green space as an agenda issue
  • To create an open dataset and standardised survey that could be replicated globally
  • To create a datasource setting a new standard of detail for global mapping resources
  • To support a more publicly orientated local government

Through these objectives, we are committed to informing greenspace planning processes as well as making the collected data openly available through venues such as OpenStreetMap, so that better greenspace information is available to residents for their greenspaces they use every day.

How can I use GreenspaceHack and what are its benefits?

GreenspaceHack was designed to make it easy for citizens to map and create a better understanding oft he greenspaces around them.  Anyone can participate in GreenspaceHack by surveying your local greenspaces anywhere in the world!  With our easy-to-use app, you can carry out a full survey of parks, playgrounds, woodland and other local greenspace in minutes. Simply install the free app on your phone and take it with you on your next visit.

In addition to this, you can explore greenspaces through our interactive map and directory:

And can even use our explorer tool to run simple queries to filter through our data:

We would also love to explore collaborations with partner organisations, including translating the survey content on the apps into different languages.  Please do get in touch with us if this would be of interest.

Country of origin: UK
Institution: University/local government/SME
Project duration: ongoing
Target group: All citizens

Thursday, February 11, 2021

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