Aarhus: A Human Touch to Nature-Based Solutions
The series of workshops and surveys undertaken by our HEART experts in Athens and Belgrade took an interesting twist in the third demo site, the city of Aarhus in Denmark. While Athenians saw an opportunity to improve their wellbeing and embrace more active lifestyles through gamification, and Belgradians raised the voices of older people shouting their needs in public spaces, the citizens of Aarhus strongly underlined the social aspect of places envisioned and designed by NBS.
Local experts in Aarhus broke down the demo location, the Marselisborg Centre, into four functional units and examined their challenges and potential with the help of nearby residents:
1. The green city-life house
2. The paths around the park
3. The green open areas with grass
4. The green/blue breathing spaces
And while all of our participants in all three cities have a common urge to spend time in a healthy, soothing, and inspiring environment, the neighbors of Marselisborg will have the opportunity to join efforts in developing their demo location, since the park is very recently established and almost all greenery is still young, and need to be taken care of more frequently and diligently.
What they stressed to be their main motives to visit the location is the blue-green space with high accessibility for everyone to participate and the open park designed to be inviting to the locals. They gather there to hang out with friends and family, have coffee dates, and also organize events and celebrations, even though the latter sometimes creates noise and a crowd that doesn’t feel too friendly for everyone. Thus, they want to come up with a fit-all solution so that the park remains open-access to all.
What they see as perks of the location is that it is an easily recognizable place to meet, it gives them a sense of belonging, and it is equally good in bad and good weather. In their opinion, such a place will promote community activism and inspire people to do good for others and the environment and will help involve all people in creating social networks and connections, but also emphasize social responsibility and equality. Last but not least, the neighbors brought up the importance of sharing a laugh and having fun with their close ones and also meeting new people, and hearing their life stories.
All these social activities would automatically increase their physical activities as it opens a window to walk and talk, organize all kinds of fun competitions that involve light exercise, and on the other hand, still leaves enough quiet places to contemplate, drop the stress level, meditate, and calm the nervous system.