The research project will follow the development of meeting places for physical and social activities in local communities from idea to completion in seven municipalities in Eastern Norway. Through this, the project will produce much needed research-based knowledge about municipal public health measures in local communities. The seven municipalities are part of "A fun detour" (EMO), a project implemented by Tverga in collaboration with Asplan Viak.
The first focus area of the research project will examine the processes that take place within the municipalities in connection with the establishment of the meeting places. In addition, the project will develop and test a tool for mapping the needs of residents when establishing such meeting places.
The second focus area is to investigate the use of meeting places after establishment. We will map who the users are and how the meeting places are used for different purposes. Furthermore, we will study the significance of the meeting places design and local environmental factors. A software will also be developed that will be available to municipalities that want to map the use of their meeting places over time.
The third focus area is to produce knowledge about the importance of such meeting places for the local community and public health. The impact of the meeting place on the residents' neighborhood satisfaction, belonging, physical activity, social contact, well-being and quality of life will be mapped before and after the opening of the meeting places. New methods for how municipalities can evaluate and measure the importance of local environmental measures for health and quality of life will be developed.
The project owner is the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. The project is carried out in collaboration with Tverga, Asplan Viak, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI), and the University of Southern Denmark.
The overall aim of this project is to obtain new knowledge and competence on the processes and implications of health-promoting neighborhood public open spaces (POS) for physical and social activities for inhabitants across generations and backgrounds. The research project will follow the development of POS, from ideas until one to two years after opening, in 6-8 Norwegian municipalities. The proposed research project will address the need for more research-based knowledge of the impact of municipal public health measures. The project will contribute to fill research gaps and impact political prioritized means by examining the planning, needs assessment, co-creation, implementation, and maintenance processes of POS in local communities (WP1). Further, the project will investigate neighborhood context, design elements and content qualities of the POS (WP2), assess by whom and how the POS are used, and whether neighborhood contextual and individual factors are associated with use (WP2/WP3). Also, the impact of creating POS on the inhabitants’ neighborhood satisfaction, cohesion, safety, physical activity, social interactions and support, life-satisfaction, and well-being/quality of life will be assessed (WP3). Lastly, evidence-based tools for further use by to local authorities on mapping inhabitants needs, for monitoring long-term use, and for assessing impact in the local community will be developed and tested. Five partners join forces in this collaborative project. The partners include a group of researchers with different disciplinary backgrounds from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (the project leader), Norwegian Institute of Public Health and University of Southern Denmark, and stakeholders representing the public and the private sector from Tverga and Asplan Viak. The project will also actively involve local stakeholders from different sectors in the municipalities that are planning and implementing the new POS.