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Pre-conference: Healthy Places: research, strategies and policies, towards healthy places and healthy people


Wednesday 20 November, 09:00 - 17:00

Organised by:

EUPHA Sections Environment and health, Public mental health and Urban public health

Background

There is a great need to improve our understanding of the effects of the environment, especially the built environment on the occurrence, severity, and persistence of health and mental health. Building factors which need investigation in a (mental) health context include ventilation, lighting, temperature as well as indoor and outdoor microbial, chemical and pest exposures. While there is a growing awareness that many of these factors affect human health, however, most research to date has not incorporated explicitly mental health outcomes into the study designs. An interdisciplinary approach that integrates health researchers, architects, building scientists, and engineers to identify the effect of environmental and built environmental factors on specific health outcomes is therefore needed. Also, a focus on understanding how external factors such as social status and /or gender affect mental health should be included into (mental) health outcome research. Accordingly, construction and design choices made by architects and engineers can affect both physical and mental health. Additionally, air pollutants, measured outdoors and indoors, have been shown in multiple studies to have a negative influence on mental health outcomes, even when using multi-parameter adjustments.

On a positive note, construction and design of buildings can have positive health impacts i.e., selection of low-emitting interior materials, reduction of dust, reduction of noise levels, access to clean fresh air. Accordingly, built spaces, and outdoor & indoor air qualities have been investigated as factors shaping health, mental health and wellbeing, however, the role of these factors, independent of - and - in interaction with social factors, remains to be better understood.

Aims

The overall goal of the pre-conference is to review and update knowledge on the impact of built environment places and air quality on population`s health. Specifically, we aim to:

  • describe the contribution of the built environment and air quality on health, independently and jointly,
  • identify vulnerable groups,
  • identify construction and design choices which contribute to positive health outcomes,
  • analyse and evaluate these factors investigating additionally social factors based on small area analysis.

Methods

The goal and the aims will be reached by bringing together experts from different areas, such as Public Health and Mental Health, with designers, urban planners and architects. Therefore, the pre-conference is jointly organised by three different EUPHA sections.

Expected outcome

Through this pre-conference, we expect to enhance knowledge and develop a research and policy agenda. The pre-conference output will be a declaration referring how to promote research and practice in the field of environmental- an urban mental health and health working jointly towards “healthy places for all“.

Registration fee

The registration fee is € 140 which includes networking lunch and refreshments. Number of registrations is limited.