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  • An investigation into the value of design in nature-based solutions for health and wellbeing in a post-COVID world

Sun, Qian, Jorgensen, A and Corcoran, A, 2021, Conference or Workshop, An investigation into the value of design in nature-based solutions for health and wellbeing in a post-COVID world at AMPS: Architecture, Media, Politics, Society, online, Dec 2021.

Abstract or Description:

This paper explores the value of design practice in innovating Nature-based Solutions (NbS) - actions that work with nature to address environmental and societal challenges - in the post-COVID world. The paper focuses on social innovation actions utilising blue and green space for health and wellbeing, which expands the concept of 'green prescription' to include wider communities and the public.

Gap in Knowledge
One of the challenges for communities to engage in developing NbS is a lack of essential knowledge and access to tools/methods normally held by experts. Design practice - a human-centred, holistic, creative and iterative process to choreograph processes, technologies and interactions within complex systems in order to co-create value for relevant stakeholders - can provide an opportunity to break institutional barriers through collaboration that democratises these mechanisms and empowers communities to innovate.

Methodology
This paper reports findings of an AHRC-funded research project, Nature’s Way, that addresses this gap in knowledge. The project takes an action research approach to interrogate the process of design through a pilot study in Walsall, one of the places hit hardest by the pandemic. The pilot project, which takes place over three months, develops a community-based NbS that supports the health and wellbeing of local participants. The processes, outputs and decisions made during the pilot are recorded through weekly reflective journals. These are analysed by independent researchers to investigate the relevance of design practice to the formation of a NbS that addresses the needs of a community in Walsall, learnings from which will inform a scaling up of the overall project for widespread public dissemination.

Conclusion
The paper considers the transdisciplinarity of design practice, and the value this brings. It sees design as a way to facilitate transdisciplinary innovation in the space of community projects. The project explores the opportunities design can create in the space of community-led NbS for health and wellbeing in the following ways:
Design practice enables collaboration that empowers communities and stimulates the formation of long-term relationships;
Design practice creates the possibility for transmitting rich narratives and impactful stories of personal experience complementary to evidence-based reporting
Design practice offers support to visualise complex systems and existing assets or activities as a baseline to identify opportunities for new NbS.

Official URL: https://architecturemps.com/proceedings/
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design > W990 Creative Arts and Design not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Design
Funders: AHRC [AH/V015192/1]
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2022 15:05
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2022 16:59
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/4963
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