Heart Project

The first six-month HEART cross-section

The first HEART plenary meeting was held remotely end of October, due to the active COVID measures, and led by the National Technical University of Athens’ experts.

At the very beginningProf. Anastasios Doulamis welcomed the members of the consortium, highlighting the topics to be tackled during the two-day plenary, the project’s so far achievements, and future goals. Also, the basic rules, values, and modus operandi of the project have been re-introduced aiming to preserve the privacy, and dignity of the citizens who participate in the project.


Some of the Ethics Requirements recognized by the HEART consortia are 

*gender and diversity balance among the research participants, 

*fully rational adults, able to give consent, 

*participation will be voluntary and via informed consent,

*participants will not be placed in any situation in which there is a likelihood of physical, mental, or emotional harm, 

*All participants will be allowed to ask questions and receive understandable answers before deciding whether to participate, 

*anytime a participant will be able to withdraw the process upon his/her request, protection of vulnerable individuals or groups, gender equality and non-discrimination, and so on.

HEART aims at providing clinical and non-clinical evidence on how specific Blue-Green solutions can improve public health and well-being. Some participants will follow the recommendations and visit green areas (or blue) or follow green routes and trajectories. The evidence and quantitative information of the possible improvement in their health will be received through wearable devices only, visiting their doctor (only), or even in both ways – so, we will have participants in clinical studies that have also a wearable device.

Furthermore, there are people who do not follow any recommendations and others who do not visit green spaces but gray areas. All these data among with additional environmental data plus socioeconomic data are gathered under the HEART umbrella. The evidence on the assessment of BG solutions for public health is based on the indicators that we have set up in WP2 as well as the statistical analysis and the advanced ML algorithms in WP4. These evident and quantifying examples on how we can improve our health in urban environments is a basis to set up a methodology –general enough and robust to be extrapolated in different urban areas


Concerning the Stakeholders and communities’ engagement, some major aspects were achieved in mapping and analyzing: 

· The key stakeholder groups and their role identified both projects 

partners and demo site 

· Initial identification of the existing BGS assets and the promising routes to the adoption of the new ones to fill the gaps BGS by the systematic involvement of multiple stakeholders 

· Initialisation of diversification for spatial specific grouping or innovative, community engagement methodology, recommended for participatory planning, co-design of the new BGS 

· Demonstrations sites customized to living labs a concept to be further exploited and defined 

Within this process, the main purpose of the user’s selection methodology is to outline the criteria of the enrolment of participants in discrete study groups, according to their health status and the degree of their planned exploitation of a BGS. Furthermore, the methodology presents the rationale of randomization and prioritization of the diseases and the disease features for each clinical group. 

To achieve this, experts must agree on the definition of the diseases, where the definition of a “healthy” participant is a priority. The so-called “healthy” for a specific disease or group of diseases is acceptable to present another disease, preferably not of the rest three study groups. 

The definition of “disease” for every one of the four disease groups is a medical diagnosis for the specific disease, with or without administration of a regular pharmaceutical regimen (i.e., a diabetic may be regulated by diet, etc). 


HEART should Influence the way cities to perceive the use of public green areas, and BGS regeneration creates conditions for: 

1. Citizens health improvements 

2. Citizens Well Being improvements 

3. Improved socializing 

4. Economy enhancement 

HEART project duties are: 

To create robust proof that cities will benefit from bg regeneration; assist cities to design and construct bg regeneration​; propose to cities introduction of specific actions and city running protocols designed to stimulate the activation of these categories​.

Therefore, the HEART team is to identify the factors that have an impact on PH and WB, as well as environmental-related factors (Air quality and Atmospheric conditions, Transport and mobility, land use management, the role of physical activity) and factors related to each group of diseases. 

And, they must apply systematic research of environmental indicators and tools/methods for their measurement, create a preliminary list of indicators, tools/methods. To define 5 challenge groups: Air quality, Climate resilience, Water quality & quantity, Biodiversity, and Urban liveability, and get consensus with City Partners to prioritize and select the best indicators and tools for each site.​ 

All of these are prerequisites for the HEART experts’ team to prove that the individual measurements and responses are the results of a particular NBS, or group of NBS that the individuals were exposed to.

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