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Heart Project

Health Walks to Kick-Off in Our Three Cities

HEART (Healthier Cities through Blue-Green Regenerative Technologies) EU project just kicked off a new development stage by engaging groups of volunteers in all three demo-case cities into a comprehensive medical study.

Aiming to assess any beneficial effects of blue and green elements in urban environments, the HEART volunteers in Aarhus (DK), Belgrade (RS) and Athens (GRE) will wear specially designed biometrical bracelets that will track their physical and mental status while having a light physical activity, carefully designed by our medical experts, in previously chosen demonstration sites, rich with natural elements. HEART puts special emphasis on three types of diseases: respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases.

This study will provide the stakeholders (health/city/regional authorities) with well-proven innovative urban planning methodologies and solutions as fundamental standards for the future design of urban districts and regeneration of blue and green urban environments (especially deprived ones).

The first round of the study will take three months during which our doctors will monitor all changes in the volunteers’ regularly exposed to the natural surroundings within the existing city parks status, supported by a system of the abovementioned wearables, in situ environmental sensors, and unique databases that provide easy and accurate process, while ensuring absolute privacy of the participants. The obtained results from the chosen demo sites will be compared with those provided by the participants not encouraged to visit blue-green zones of the city.

In the Danish City of Aarhus, volunteers will contribute to the study while taking weekly walks in the Marselisborg park and having light exercises, varying on the doctor’s suggestion, and using different routes, meticulously designed, and chosen by medical experts to best fit their current health condition. Having already good quality of air, the study there will be adjusted to monitor the effects of spending time in green spaces, protected from noise pollution allowing for relaxation of the participants.

As for the City of Belgrade which has three demo locations, the first round of activities will take place in the park around the Ada Ciganlija Lake. Being a popular summer sports and leisure destination, it offers a variety of natural elements. However, with Belgrade being one of the most polluted cities in the world, our experts will pay close attention to measuring the air quality on the spot and to what extent it affects its visitors.

In Athens, the capital and most populous city of Greece, the study will kick off in one of the city’s largest public parks, Pedion tou Areos. This sprawling park, whose vibrant greenery contrasts with the surrounding urban jungle, allows its visitors to exercise, walk amongst the numerous statues, have a picnic, or meet and socialize, all the while enjoying its serene atmosphere and natural beauty. Around 400 HEART volunteers will help our Greek colleagues gather invaluable data related to the public’s health and wellbeing, which, when correlated with environmental and socioeconomic variables, will provide useful insights about the numerous benefits of exposure to green and blue spaces.

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