Mathew P. White: "The Blue Gym Initiative"

  • Date: –15:00
  • Location: Blåsenhus - Bertil Hammer Hall (24:K104)
  • Organiser: Department of Psychology, Division of Clinical Psychology
  • Contact person: Anders Winman, Terry Hartig
  • Seminarium

The General Seminar

Associate Professor Mathew P. White, University of Exeter Medical School, UK: "The Blue Gym initiative: Exploring the potentially salutogenic role of waterscapes for health and wellbeing"

Many towns and cities are built on rivers, lakes and the coast for good historical reasons. Yet while there is increasing talk of the potential health co-benefits of urban green infrastructure, discussion of urban blue infrastructure still tends to focus on measures to keep the water away from people, and people away from the water.  While recognising the very real risks waterscapes pose, the Blue Gym initiative, established in 2009, has attempted to balance the picture by identifying, quantifying and valuing aspects of waterscapes that can positively influence health and wellbeing. This talk will present highlights of the first ten years of the Blue Gym initiative, including studies from other research teams around the world, and assess the current state of play. Early research was largely epidemiological, experimental, and UK-focused, but it now extends to applied urban planning initiatives (at the micro-level) and global policy actions (at the macro-level). Next steps in the initiative will be discussed and new ideas and collaborations sought from/with the audience.

About the Speaker
Dr. Mat White is a Senior Lecturer in Environmental Psychology at the European Centre for Environment & Human Heath (ECEHH) at the University of Exeter. His PhD was in public understanding of environmental risk. Since joining the ECEHH in 2011 he has led the Blue Gym initiative which has gathered speed through research grants including Horizon 2020 funded projects ‘BlueHealth’, ‘Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe’ (SOPHIE), and the GCRF funded ‘Blue Communities’ programme which explores these issues in developing countries in South East Asia.