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Mia Tossavainen, project manager, Lotta Berglund, project workers, Catrine Kostenius, Health, and Kristina L Nilsson, Architecture.

Additional funding for the project Health on thin ice

Published: 31 July 2013

In the pilot Health on thin ice studied how cold, ice and darkness can be used as a resource for good health. Now extend the study to 2014 with the aim to collaborate with researchers and practitioners in Norway and Finland.

The aim of the investigation is to provide a better basis and methods for planning of attractive outdoor environments in a cold climate. The environments will attract people of all ages to physical activity and socializing.

In the first study, two workshops with scientists and 25-30 experts representing municipal administrations, businesses and citizens. The aim was to find out what attracts people to spend time outdoors in the winter and how the information can be used by urban planners. The results showed that people are attracted by easily accessible activities and excursions.
- Outdoor recreation also provides peace of mind and stress relieving, which also strengthens human health, said project manager Mia Tossavainen.

Focus on practitioner views

With the help of EU funds, the project is now taking another step towards our neighbors. The northern parts of Norway and Finland have similar conditions with a cold climate, basic industries and rural areas in the interior. University of Oulu in Finland have already joined the project, and now examines interest at the Norwegian University of Tromsø.

- It is about developing the region and build on what makes people happy in order to attract new residents, businesses and tourists. We can in the Nordic countries cooperate, says Mia Tossavainen.

Now the focus is on the planners 'and companies' views on how the attractive health environments can be planned to be realized.

Interdisciplinary work

The project is extended until the middle of 2014, when an application for a three-year project will be done. The work is interdisciplinary between research groups within the Health Sciences with Catrine Kostenius and Architecture with Kristina L Nilsson, as scientific leaders. The research groups are working on ways to human health and collaborating for the first time. The project involves both local authorities and businesses.
- It is a unique project that fills a need in the community where we see that there are clear linkages between Environment and Health, which may lead to further collaborations, says Mia Tossavainen.

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