Nature's Way: Co-Creating Methods for Innovating Nature-based Solutions for Public Health and Green Recovery in a Post-COVID World

Lead Research Organisation: Royal College of Art
Department Name: School of Design


This project aims to co-create Nature-based Solutions (NBS) knowledge to empower communities, organisations, and individuals to innovate NBS as alternatives for healthcare and societal resilience following the COVID-19 pandemic. It will take a human-centred design approach to enable wider collaboration and to integrate otherwise 'siloed' knowledge and expertise.

This project is a joint-effort between the Royal College of Art, the University of Sheffield, Walsall Housing Group, Bradford City Council, Shared Assets, HAS technology, National Association of Voluntary and Community Action, and Intelligent Health.

NBS are actions, e.g. ecological restoration, that work with nature to help address societal challenges. In this proposal, it refers to social innovation actions utilising green space, parks and lakes, for the purpose of health and wellbeing. It is based on the evidence that regular contact with nature enhances physical health and mental wellbeing, and creates social benefits. It expands the concept of 'green prescription' to include wider communities and public beyond patients and GPs.

The main deliverables of the project are:

- An integrated method supported with training webinars enabling people to innovate and improve cost-effective NBS;

- An open innovation platform facilitating NBS development using the integrated method, to link available resources and different stakeholders including commissioners, providers, agencies and voluntary community action groups and individuals;

- The outcome of the pilots - NBS concepts - will be implemented by Walsall Housing Group and Bradford City Council to create immediate benefit to vulnerable people in these two areas, building upon existing approaches in the creation of service directories;

- One journal paper, two conference papers to examine the role of design thinking in NBS innovation.


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