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#H2020 funding opportunity: Solutions to improve well-being and health in the cities

The European Commission has published its Research & Innovation Horizon 2020 Call topic: Visionary and integrated solutions to improve well-being and health in cities under the umbrella of the call: Greening the economy in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It’s a two stage call, with the deadline of the 1st stage on 19th of February and on 4th of September for the 2nd stage of this call. The topic is under pillar: Societal Challenges, of the Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020, part: Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of 10 million € would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

Consortium of partners

Centre for Health and Development, Murska Sobota, together with the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts are building a consortium of partners for this Call topic.

We are looking for three kind of partners:

  • strong professional organisations, with references in the filed of well-being, health, public spaces re-design…
  • academic institutions also but not only from from psychology, behavioural science, economics, law, anthropology, sociology, architecture, or design studies; and last but not least
  • cities, of different types: S (between 50 000 and 100 000 in population), M (between 100 000 and 250 000), L (between 250 000 and 500 000), XL (between 500 000 and 1 000 000), XXL (between 1 000 000 and 5 000 000), global city (more than 5.000.000 in population).

We plan to organise an introductory worskhop, so in case of interested to participate in the Consortium of partners contact me ASAP, please.

Abstract of the expected actions

  • deliver visionary and integrated solutions (e.g. therapy gardens, urban living rooms, creative streets, city farms) at the intersection of social, cultural, digital and nature-based innovation to increase citizens’ health and well-being in cities;
  • demonstrate how the integration of these solutions into innovative land-use management, urban design and planning could reduce health-related environmental burdens in socially deprived neighbourhoods, foster equitable access for all to public spaces, enhance their quality and use and promote sustainable urban mobility patterns;
  • test new transition management approaches, governance models, legal frameworks and financing mechanisms to re-design public spaces and urban commons and assess their contribution to improving health and well-being.
  • The involvement of social sciences and humanities disciplines such as psychology, behavioural science, economics, law, anthropology, sociology, architecture, or design studies, is considered essential to enhance social learning and promote the role of social and cultural innovation in transforming public spaces, with particular attention devoted to gender dynamics and diversity.

Specific Challenge of the call topic

It is estimated that by 2050 up to 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. Urbanisation affects human health and well-being through factors such as exposure to pollutants, including noise, disasters, stressors and diseases, urban density, lack of physical activity, degraded ecosystems and erosion of natural capital, which can be exacerbated by climate change.

As acknowledge by the Habitat III New Urban Agenda, public spaces play a crucial role in urban interaction and systemic urban innovation and they need to be designed and managed sustainably and equitably to ensure that the way citizens produce, consume, commute and interact within the urban fabric has a positive impact on their health and quality of life, enhances resilience to disasters and climate change and reduces the environmental footprint of the cities.

The systemic integration of social, cultural, digital and nature-based innovation in the design, development and governance of public space has a tremendous potential to transform these spaces into diverse, accessible, safe, inclusive and high-quality green areas that increase well-being and health and deliver a fair and equitable distribution of the associated benefits.

Scope of the actions

Actions should deliver visionary and integrated solutions (e.g. therapy gardens, urban living rooms, creative streets, city farms) at the intersection of social, cultural, digital and nature-based innovation to increase citizens’ health and well-being in cities.

These solutions should address social, cultural, economic and environmental determinants of health and well-being and support urban communities in reducing their exposure to climate-related risks, pollution (including noise), environmental stress and social tensions, including the negative effects of gentrification.

Actions should also demonstrate how the integration of these solutions into innovative land-use management, urban design and planning could reduce health-related environmental burdens in socially deprived neighbourhoods, foster equitable access for all to public spaces, enhance their quality and use and promote sustainable urban mobility patterns.
Actions should test new transition management approaches, governance models, legal frameworks and financing mechanisms to re-design public spaces and urban commons and assess their contribution to improving health and well-being. They should promote multi-stakeholder initiatives, citizens’ engagement, co-creation and co-ownership of public spaces. Optimal and cost-effective use of behavioural games, networks of sensors, GIS-mapping, big data, observational programmes such as Copernicus and GEOSS, and citizens’ observatories should be made as appropriate to enable the integration and visualisation of data for more effective monitoring of the transition towards healthier and happier cities.

The involvement of social sciences and humanities disciplines such as psychology, behavioural science, economics, law, anthropology, sociology, architecture, or design studies, is considered essential to enhance social learning and promote the role of social and cultural innovation in transforming public spaces, with particular attention devoted to gender dynamics and diversity.

To enhance the impact and promote upscaling and replication of these solutions, projects should engage in substantial networking and training actions to disseminate their experience, knowledge and deployment practices to other cities beyond the consortium.

To enhance impact cooperation and synergies with the activities undertaken within the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy initiative and its regional components (supported by the EC) should be sought where appropriate.

Actions should envisage clustering activities with other relevant selected projects for cross-projects co-operation, consultations and joint activities on cross-cutting issues and share of results as well as participating in joint meetings and communication events. To this end proposals should foresee a dedicated work package and/or task, and earmark the appropriate resources accordingly.

Funded projects are expected to establish long-term sustainable data platforms securing open, consistent data about the impacts of the deployed approaches and ensure interoperability with other relevant data infrastructures for effective communication, public consultation, exchange of practices, and sharing of experiences.

Proposals should pay attention to the special call conditions for this topic. In grants awarded under this topic, costs for construction and installation of “infrastructure-targeted” interventions shall not constitute more than 20% of the total eligible costs. Beneficiaries’ own resources and/or mobilisation and leverage of additional investments beyond Horizon 2020, whether private or public, should make up the remaining investment costs and should secure economic and financial sustainability for the execution of the project.

Expected Impact directions and contributions

    • Public spaces to enhance health and well-being

    High quality, multifunctional, public spaces able to integrate digital, social, cultural and nature-based innovation to enhance health and well-being, while ensuring ‘the right to the city’ as specified in the Habitat III New Urban Agenda.

    • European cities as world ambassadors of sustainable lifestyles

    European cities being world ambassadors of sustainable lifestyles, providing universal access to greener, safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces, also accounting for the gender dimension.

    • Re-designing and transforming public spaces through innovative public-private-people partnerships (PPPPs)

    Participatory approaches in re-designing and transforming public spaces to increase health and well-being in cities through innovative public-private-people partnerships (PPPPs).

    • Development of health and well-being indicators

    More comprehensive assessment of the sustainability and resilience of cities through the development of health and well-being indicators.

    • Establishing innovative monitoring systems

    Establishing innovative monitoring systems to measure effects (both positive and negative) and capture the multiple co-benefits created by nature-based solutions in terms of health and well-being.

    Source and website of the Call topic
    http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/desktop/en/opportunities/h2020/topics/sc5-14-2019.html

    Marko Savić, M. Sc.
    Project Manager at the CZR. Co-founder and Acting Director of the sustainable infrastructure initiative along the river Mura. PhD student of Environmental Protection. No coffee, just tea. Player & organiser of beach volleyball events. Social dancer.

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