Innovation & Health Unite in the Healthy Re-development of Falerna’s Technological Park
Edited on30 April 2021
The small Italian town of Falerna is committed to enabling the behaviors and lifestyles that foster a healthy population. Through the Healthy Cities Lifestyle Deep Dive, Falerna is developing effective, locally targeted urban interventions for health that are directly linked to the behavior of current residents.
Fostering Health in Urban Planning for the Common Good
In the urban planning context, for Falerna, it is necessary to recognize and protect the city’s common good. By protecting the environment in the city and territory, Falerna is prioritising the common good for individual enjoyment and future generations.
The city is aiming for a new awareness, a new responsibility, a new urban culture: A new way of designing the territory in defense of the common good. Firstly, this means preserving historical and cultural heritage through a systematic knowledge of urban and territorial phenomena. Secondly, guaranteeing the equitable distribution of rights through the application of urban equalization. Thirdly, evaluating the consequences of and preventing interventions in the territory through the application of multi-criteria assessment techniques and application of Strategic Environmental Assessments in the planning process. Hence the need to elaborate an idea of the contemporary, of how we want to build (and defend) our cities of the future and protect the landscapes and how a new design culture - urbanistically speaking - can become the road and the engine of this vision.
Active Lifestyles, Healthy Citizens
The city intends to improve the health of its citizens through access to sports and improved social integration. The town is committed to making the city´s infrastructure and services more suitable for this purpose. This means improving access areas between urban centers, and to urban green areas and sports facilities. Existing sports facilities will also be renovated to make them more attractive and encourage regular use.
The primary project planned is to improve the possibility of going from A to B on foot or by bicycle - offering different ways of “seeing” the city. To do this, a travel network aimed at children and the elderly will be created. The network will have less noise, cleaner air, and connect schools, green places, and existing pedestrian and cycle paths. Additionally, shared bicycles will be made available.
The Role of the Technological Park
The town's Technological Park will play a central role in the plans to enable healthy lifestyles. The Park promotes and develops Life Sciences research, with a focus on human health, social hardship, and sport. It also acts as a link between the business world and university research, promoting the birth and growth of innovative companies.
The Park’s mission is based on the idea that technologies related to Life Sciences are strategic for local and international socio-economic development. Featuring R&I, technology transfer, environmental education, and training on biotechnologies, the park links research to innovative business. The Park also includes laboratories and offers spaces and services for activities aimed at health, well-being and environmental, agricultural and agri-food protection.
With health and Life Sciences inextricably linked, the Technological Park will also be central to efforts to foster healthy lifestyle habits amongst Falerna’s citizens. For the over 65’s the aim is to encourage healthy diets and an uptake in physical activity, while in the under 65’s the focus is on prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, and reduction of obesity.
Green Spaces and Improved Access for Health
To develop this strategy, Falerna is taking advantage of the Park’s strategic position. Only a few steps from the town centre, the Park is surrounded by greenery and near the sea. The green spaces surrounding the Park are being restored, to create a location to unwind and connect the Park to the rest of the city.
The Technological Park is equipped with a refreshment point surrounded by greenery where people can stop freely to breathe clean air and cultivate healthy social relationships. The lawn is being restored to create a space for barefoot walking, which can relieve stress.
The green places will be related to various activities, different ways of use and different types of sites, from agricultural plots to urban and natural landscapes. They will include the provision of equipped green areas and picnic areas as well as with video surveillance systems for community safety.
As the crow flies, the Park is close to the sea, but is currently not within walking distance. Falerna plan to create a road that can be traveled on foot or by bicycle, to make the sea easily accessible.
The pedestrian area to reach the park is lined with trees among which a brook flows, in beautiful and relaxing natural scenery. Falerna plan to restructure the entire route, respecting the natural context.
In this forested area the idea is to be able to take advantage of the therapeutic and healing power of trees. Contact with nature lowers levels of anxiety and stress, helps breathing and promotes relaxation: people can hug the trees to immerse themselves in "Forest therapy", the green embrace that relaxes both body and mind.
Health from an Integrated Perspective
Falerna is looking beyond solely economic indicators of wellbeing as an expression of people’s health. Instead, wellbeing is increasingly measured by the existence of a healthy environment, correct movement, healthy living (with an appropriate amount of sleep, sunlight and hydration), and through mental health aspects such as optimism and affections. By focusing on urban interventions that improve the lifestyle of citizens, Falerna intends to safeguard the common good of natural, pleasant, spaces and active travel for generations to come.
Submitted by Amber de la Haye on