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H&G partners are having an active spring!

Edited on

07 May 2021
Read time: 6 minutes

Our partners are having an active spring plunging into multiple small scale actions! Read the summary of spring 2021 and get inspired!

In this article we summarize all the activities related to our project partners within the Health&Greenspace network.

The categories these activities belong to:

  • Health & nature go hand-in-hand together - new functions in parks
  • New functions for old areas/Refurbishing
  • Social well-being and green areas/community activation
  • Local groups activated!
  • Communication campaigns around the Health&Greenspace network
  • Bold plans and strategies

Feel free to scroll down to the categories you are interested in!

Health & nature go hand-in-hand together - new functions in parks


Espoo: Olari health-nature trail

Central Park encloses one of the finest natural treasures of Espoo – Olari health-nature trail, which
was established in cooperation with a local neighbourhood community and the city. Now the good
practices and learnings of a successful participatory process will be collected in one volume, published in
September 2021 – stay tuned!

Photo: Anna Hakala / City of Espoo

Espoo: Rastaala nature trail
Already following the fine example of Olari health-nature trail´s good practices, a new nature trail is co-
planned together with Rastaala primary school next door to their local forest at Karakallio. At virtual
information signs of the trail, a visitor may read the information texts written by the students, see images
and listen to the vocal landscape of the place. Also, inspiring and educational exercises to the students will
be revised by different seasons and themes.


New functions for old areas/Refurbishing


Espoo: Tapionpuisto´s renewal from a bus terminal to a public park
An asphalt field will be turned into a green public space in Tapiola Garden City in Espoo. The site is currently
occupied by a bus terminal, which will be transferred into a new location that better serves the residents of
the area. Due to its central location, in the future Tapionpuisto park will form a recreational urban park
with facilities for organising inspiring events to and by the residents.

Photo: City of Espoo

Breda is transforming an area with military barracks into a new city park

The municipality of Breda is going to create new urban green infrastructure by transforming the military barracks Seelig-zuid into a new city park. In the period of 2020-2022 an Integrated Action Plan will be made for the design of the new park. The current military area Seelig-zuid is not accessible to the public. One small scale action aims to create a temporary entry to residents, placing fences and making a separate entry.

Breda is refurbishing a section of the urban bank of the river Mark for recreational use

The neighbourhood Fellenoord is “the hottest place in town”, literally. To give the residents extra green space for cooling down the nearby bank of the river Mark will me made suitable for recreation at the waterfront. For example placing picknicktables for people to rest, a pingpongtable for children to play, mowing the grass to create space for sunbathing and build a small jetty for small rowing boats.

Tartu: railway redesigned as park

One among the many progressive steps on the journey for Tartu towards health and greenspaces was analysing and deciding on the future use of an abandoned railway line. Parallel surveys addressed the space both as a bypass street and as a linear park. The surrounding neighbourhoods have gradually been transforming from industry to residential and business; so there was no longer a need for a rail connection. After the decision to remove it the question of its future use arose. After careful analysis and public discussion, it was decided it will be redesigned as a 2 km long linear park. The decision is a major step towards Tartu's climate and mobility goals.

Messina: requalifying neglected coasts with green and blue infrastructures

ForestaMe is a greening project in Messina, where the final goal is to requalify a big portion of the so far neglected coast of Messina with green and blue infrastuctures. The project will introduce, maybe for the first time in the town, the awareness that health and green spaces are strictly linked to each other.

Messina: requalification of Villa Dante
A neglected park area of Villa Dante, the biggest green area right in the city center of Messina will be redesigned inviting citizens to use it to improve their health outdoors.

Santa Pola: combating heat stress by transforming Salamanca Avenue


Social well-being and green areas/community activation

Espoo´s housecleaning day – communal work parties
In Finland, the culture for working together for one´s local environment is strong. In Espoo, the long
tradition of community efforts is continued in housecleaning days of the city, arranged by voluntary
residents. With support from the city, efforts can be made to, for instance, collect trash, prevent invasive
species, or support valuable cultural landscapes. In this spring, multiple voluntary groups have already
signed up – are you one of them?
Learn more:

Breda is participating in the National Championship Removing Tiles 2021: Greening of the Parking space near the Teruggave

In favour of the national policy to create more space to store rainwater the municipality of Breda takes part in the National Championship Removing Tiles 2021. The city that succeeds in greening the largest paved surface wins the trophy. One of the options for removing the pavement is the parking space near the former tax building which is called the Teruggave. Tiles out, plants in. In addition to the greening there will also be created a plants asylum: people can bring plants they don’t need anymore, or can get plants they need.

Limerick: outdoor education taken to a new level: Forest school for kids in Baggot estate

Baggot Estate is a public park (13.3882 hectares) west of Limerick city, Ireland. Once a week from September to December 2020 a local primary school for children with a hearing impairment delivered Forest School in Baggot Estate. Each session lasted three hours with children from 2nd through 6th class (8-12 years old) engaged in outdoor learning. The teacher, who is a Forest School Leader, used the outdoor space to engage students in their learning while also helping to maintain social distancing as per government guidance for teaching and learning (COVID). 

Before each session the teacher and two students prepared an area in the estate for Forest School. This included establishing boundaries which were extended each week, and identifying hazards on site, such as nettles, brambles, rubbish, mushrooms, and dog poo. Informed by the primary school curriculum, activities were linked to subject areas such as social environmental and science education, art, English, social personal and health education, and physical education.  As the primary school has successfully piloted Forest School in Baggot Estate we are working with the Forest School leader to promote the ideas and encourage others schools to engage in similar activities.

Limerick: Nature trails and nature workshops

Small-scale actions in Limerick include natural trails through the wooded areas in Baggot Estate as well as providing natural play opportunities such as logs and stepping stones. Another small-scale action called ‘Nature workshops in Baggot Estate’, will engage local children with the biodiversity of the urban woodland. Delivered by local environmental educators, children will be introduced to the scents, sounds, sights, and textures of the woodland. Children will be given swatches (identification guides) which they can keep to help them to identify various flora and fauna. We are also introducing and developing orienteering courses in Baggot Estate. Physical maps and virtual courses will be created which can be used in conjunction with the MapRun smart phone app. This allows people to use the course at any time.

Image source: Forest School Association, Ireland

Tartu had an active winter: encouraging citizens to go outdoors in wintertime

Despite of covid, Tartu had lots of outdoor fun thanks to the quantity of snow. People were encouraged to spend a lot of time outdoors, engaging in winter sports - almost every urban district had its own skiing tracks and the city built a super popular skating ring as well which operated till the end of March.

Messina: promoting green activities with birdwatching

Birdwatching is fun! It is educating both kids and adults about nature and at the same time, moves them outdoors! Therefore Messina organized with the Mediterranean Assocaiation for Nature, together with ornitologists and environmental experts a 3-day event dedicated to schools and citizens for bird watching activities - with huge success!

Poznan: organizing Connecting Nature Enterprise Summit in 29th-30th June

City of Poznań on 29th and 30 th June 2021 will be hosting virtual event Connecting Nature Enterprise Summit. Event will concern the development of entrepreneurship that uses blue-green infrastructure and nature-based solutions in its operations. 

You are cordially invited! Learn more and register for the event>>>


Local groups activated!

Suceava is leading a public consultation on Sipote Fortress project

Suceava is currently working on a consultation process with all the relevant stakeholders and the civil society in order to reshape the Sipote fortress. The consultation process in ongoing and, at the end of this consultation, there will be a contest of projects proposed by architects , so that the Municipality and the citizens of the city to benefit from the most significant  green area , at the heart of the city

Espoo is involving senior citizens in contributing to the Integrated Action Plan

Our partner city, Espoo is busier than ever - they already had 11 ULG meetings educating participants on general advantages of urban nature and health, the connection between physical activity and the environment and in August they are involving senior citizens in a communal walk park, giving them a change to contribute to the IAP (Integrated Action Plan) of Espoo.

Communication campaigns around the Health&Greenspace network

Suceava finally organizing ULG meetings in person, launching awareness raising campaign

Suceava finally had their ULG meeting in person! In the first one they created a SWOT analysis regarding health and greenspaces, in the second they discussed their small scale action idea which will be an awareness raising campaign. It will be carried out in partnership with schools and the Public Health Directorate, to emphasize the importance of spending free time in nature, to encourage physical activities and to discourage sedentary lifestyles and leisure in closed spaces.

Within this campaign, the following activities will be carried out :

  • Learning activities in nature ( with the help of our ULG member from the University) – Sipote forest
  • Sport events ( Suceava river banks, Tatarasi park)
  • Open air theatre or other cultural events ( Tatarasi park)
  • Promotion materials ( leaflets which contain key messages regarding the importance of health and greenspace), other materials ( containing the logo of the project)

Espoo created a short video on what is happening in the Nordics!


Hegyvidék is planning to experiment with GIS-based tools 

Hegyvidék organized a GIS workshop on 4th of March. During the GIS workshop organized by Katalin Bunyevácz Urbact adhoc expert jointly with LP and LE, theoretical and scientific GIS practices as well as real life GIS applications and tools were presented to H&G project partners and to their invited stakeholders. 

The workshop started with the presentation of the adhoc expert  introducing the basic concept of GIS providing illustration for possible application areas and presenting scientific researches conducted in this field. Following,  an interactive map analysing exercise was organized where participants could experience and model a situation using maps for planning green spaces.

After this rather theoretical-scientifical part of the agenda, we went towards more practical application of GIS. First, an invited speaker, Festa Isufi joined us from a Finland based enterprise called Maptionnaire. This company was established based on a university research and it provides a platform to create map-based surveys for participative planning processes. Maptionnaire is a very easy to use tool for both municipalities and residents, Festa Isufi showed us how this tool works.

While the presentation of Festa showed the technical possibilities of Maptionnaire, a representative of Espoo was asked to present how Maptionnaire work in real life in the My Espoo participative process. Johanna Palomäki was the invited speaker from Espoo, who shared with us also additional GIS researches applied in the city of Espoo for health-responsive planning and management of urban green spaces. 

Following the meeting, a report on the use of GIS for UGS planning and management was drafted by the adhoc expert which includes the summary of presentations completed also by inputs received from participants during the map analysing exercise.

The lectures can be watched here:

Whose knowledge counts? GIS-based surveys and community engagement>>>

Maptionnaire - community engagement platform for map-based tools>>>

The use of GIS for health-responsive planning and management of urban green spaces>>>

Bold plans and strategies

Tartu's new Energy and Climate Action Plan approved

Tartu’s Energy and Climate Action Plan was also presented, discussed and confirmed during winter. The Action Plan provides information on the impacts of energy production and consumption in Tartu. The plan has set the goal of achieving climate neutrality by the year 2050. This sets a practical and powerful framework for working on the goals of Health&Greenspace in order to prioritize healthy and green streets.

Breda wants to be the first European city in a green park in 2030 - and CO2 neutral by 2044!

First European city in a green park by 2030 and CO2 neutrality by 2044 - these are the two biggest ambitions when it comes to health and sustainability in Breda. 

Messina is combating air pollution with oleanders

Because of its geographical position, Messina is the main access to Sicily and that unfortunately led us to become the 4th city in Italy in terms of traffic and therefore air pollution is a problem the city really needs to deal with. One of the projects trying to decrease air pollution is using trees; along one of the biggest and most polluted avenues, Viale Boccetta, all the trees (mainly oaks) will be eradicated and planted in a green area up the hill of town and they will be replaced with Oleanders (Rose-bay) because, according to our agriculture experts, these particular species of trees absorb, more than others, CO2 emissions reducing the particulate level in the air. The air pollution control unit is situated on this avenue. The project should be starting in the next few months, air pollution will be measured before planting the oleanders and level of air pollution will be checked regularly.

Santa Pola: nature-based solutions against flooding. 

An area in Santa Pola, Playa Lisa is below sea level and because of that it is often flooded. The city is looking for nature based solutions in order to improve the situation. As Jorge Diez, councilor for the Environment and Infrastuctures says “Sometimes nature itself is what we want to replace concrete floors with vegetation that absorbs water”. They are also learning actively from other cities researching other options, such as vertical gardens or natural shading.