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HEART project partners meeting in Athens: Technology development is progressing, but human relations have gone wrong

The HEART project consortium recently held its third plenary meeting at the National Technical University of Athens, bringing together partners from other European countries covering different professional niches in the project.

As a reminder, the HEART project is dedicated to an integrated approach aiming to systematically improve urban health and reduce health disparities through innovative urban planning mechanisms based on blue-green solutions that include and promote health and well-being as key planning criteria. HEART aims to use medical evidence in clinical and non-clinical settings. For all clinical studies, a sufficient number of individuals will be selected to participate by wearing biometric devices while engaging in various activities at selected demo locations.

Mikser’s role in the project is to help approach and accept the idea and methodology of the project to a wide audience, professionals from all fields and citizens, so that in such an environment the criteria for planning healthy, sustainable, and pleasant cities become the standard in the future. Through various communication and dissemination activities and support to other partners, Mikser strives to point out to citizens the advantages of such urban planning philosophies, to remind citizens of their rights and ways, how to make their voice heard and respected in decision-making processes that affect the quality of life in urban areas.

This includes educating citizens and other professional partners about sensitive groups, about the most common and neglected challenges in the daily use of the city, which prevent all residents from using the city equally and freely in the best possible way.

Our technical partners are fine-tuning wearables, sensors, and databases to best match the social, economic, cultural, and other indicators of each demo location to collect the most valuable, reliable, and indicative information about the health and well-being of citizens.

In parallel, our medical and social experts are preparing another training/workshop to be held in all three demo cities: Aarhus, Belgrade, and Athens, to prepare HEART volunteers for health walks in the designated locations. The questionnaire will give a deeper insight into the habits, challenges, and aspirations of citizens on our three very different sites.

On the other hand, it has become clear that the past few very challenging years with covid and the geopolitical and strategic situation in Europe have not hindered the development of technology but have brought back our social features: mutual trust and the need for connection, relations between citizens and all bodies that create policy, trust in good intentions and the possibility of favorable outcomes of any joint ventures between citizens and decision-makers.

Therefore, these aspects of the project must be given increasing attention, especially considering that the rest of the ecosystem of urban planning projects based on health and well-being has come to the same insights: all the developed technology and methodology in this area must now be presented to the widest public, we must enable discussions and devote ourselves to educating the widest audience, from professionals in other fields to citizens.