Workshops at Healthy Urban Childhoods, 8 - 9 Oct 2019

Workshops at Uppsala Health Summit offer and require intense work with co-delegates from a wide range of professional fields and with different roles in society. Together, you will develop suggestions that will contribute to well-needed implementation of research and innovations for better global health.

Delegates at Uppsala Health Summit participate in one workshop per day.

ECHO-zones in practice: How to deliver evidence

The desired outcome of this workshop is to identify critical factors for gaining political support for initiation, implementation and evaluation i.e. evidence building of an ECHO zone (Ending Childhood Obesity Zone).

The number of children with obesity is rising rapidly globally with related complications including type 2 diabetes appearing already in young children and adolescents. Population-based intervention studies typically show that some overweight children reduce their body mass index (BMI) following interventions, others show no change and others increase their BMI. Therefore, little or no effect is observed at the population level and no sustained reductions have been achieved. In response to this challenge the concept of Ending ChildHood Obesity (ECHO) zone was developed at Uppsala Health Summit on Ending Childhood Obesity in 2016.

The ECHO zone is a town or community where multiple stake-holders in society have committed long-term (> 10 years) to initiate an environment around the child where actions promoting a healthy lifestyle focusing on food, physical activity and sleep habits are developed. In the ECHO zone all children are invited to participate and followed individually over time during the intervention. Data is collected repeatedly from the children to describe changes in environment (by questionnaires) and biology (in blood samples). Effectiveness of different interventions is evaluated based on data showing how children respond to the intervention. In this way the ECHO zone will build evidence i.e. facts to act on of how different interventions are effective in children depending on environment and biology/heritage of the child.

Since Uppsala Health Summit 2016 cities have started to work according to this concept. In this workshop, persons working with ECHO zones in different parts of the world will share their experiences. We invite decision-makers from different areas of society to participate in this workshop, e.g. urban planning, schools, education, healthcare and non-governmental organizations to join the workshop, together with policy-makers and opinion-builders setting goals and the frameworks for these activities in society.

To sustainably build ECHO zones the following needs to be in place:

  • long-term budgetary and policy decisions
  • town or community environment swhere interventions involving multiple societal stake-holders and addressing health-promoting habits can be tested
  • solid and continuous evidence building of the environment and biology of individual children.

Inspirational Speaker: Erkki Välimäki, Director of City Development, City of Seinäjoki

Workshop prepared by:

  • Peter Bergsten, Professor at Department of Medical Cell Biology and at Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University
  • Kerstin Strandberg Wilbrand, Project manager at Division for Contract Education, Uppsala University
  • Lena Sundberg, Project manager at Division for Contract Education, Uppsala University

Listen to the kids!

How to take children seriously in urban planning, management and design for a better and healthier environment.

The expected outcome of our workshop is a set of strategies that can raise awareness among make decision makers at different levels, and within different sectors within urban planning, around their role and possibilities to act in favor of a healthy urban environment for children.   

By participating in planning processes that concerns their own environment, children will develop trust to society, as well as in their own skills and knowledge. Trust is central to the development of the individual, his or her health and well-being.

In public discussion, children are sometimes seen as yet another interest group. It is important to remember, however, that because they are children, participation is a much greater matter: It is a matter of being included in what concerns our common environment, and of being listened to when they express themselves, in that special way that adults must also learn to understand and respect.

“Listen to the kids!” means taking children’s knowledge and experiences seriously and acting on that information. A point of departure for the workshop is that the information children want to share shall be considered in decisions that affect children´s health and well-being both physically, socially and mentally. When it comes to children´s outdoor urban environment, one problem is to communicate the information to all those concerned with planning, designing and management in a way that is manageable in their different practices.

This workshop addresses the participants own experiences of listening to children in different cultural contexts and of different ages as well as experiences of implementing that information in practices, leading to actions that promote children´s health and wellbeing in the urban environment.

Inspirational Speaker: Dr. Mara Mintzer, Co-founder and current program director of Growing Up Boulder, University of Colorado.

Workshop prepared by:

  • Kerstin Nordin, Lecturer Landscape Architecture, Department of Urban and Rural Planning, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Maria Nordström, Associate professor in Environmental Psychology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Supporting children’s mobility in complex urban contexts

The desired outcome of this workshop is the development of strategies for supporting children’s mobilities in urban contexts and the enablement of experiences sought through mobility.

Children’s independent access to and active use of public space in the city for their own activities is important for their health and wellbeing.  Why should it be so difficult to enable their access and use? Cities constitute paradoxical and complex living environments when it comes to children’s mobility. While structural conditions in many cities have led to a decline in what has been referred to as children’s ‘independent’ mobility, children are also co-producers of urban structures through their actual ‘more or less dependent’ mobility practices. This makes children’s mobility a multifaceted issue, not the least since children in any one city form a heterogeneous group, and across different parts of the world they live in widely differing urban contexts.

On the one hand, children’s ‘independent’ mobility has declined in many cities for many children. The reasons for this are several and complex and are often placed on a structural level. Many of the world’s cities are planned for and made up of an adult, motorized labour force, which has spatially shaped everything from transport systems to the housing, labour and school markets.  Spatial restrictions on children’s mobility imposed by vehicular mobility have resulted in sedentary life styles. Children’s mobility is further bound up in the time-spatial organization of the daily life of the household, closely linked to diverse institutional contexts such as the school or organized leisure activities. In this sense, children’s mobility is rarely ‘independent’, but rather tied into the mobility of other family members and others close to the child. Furthermore, cultural conceptions around risk and safety cut across the diverse contexts of children’s mobility, making this a pivotal issue to address.  

On the other hand, these structural conditions are also an integral part of the everyday lives of the city’s population. As such, they are at times conformed to, negotiated or contested by children and adults alike; in short, children’s and adults’ ways of doing mobility reveal the practice of urban life and thus construct the urban fabric. A focus on how children and families actually get by in the city on an everyday basis reveal the dialogic nature of city life and may provide tools for supporting more sustainable urbanisms.

So how can we support children’s mobilities in cities, in Europe and elsewhere?

At Uppsala Health Summit we will depart from the complexity of children’s mobility in urban contexts and share thoughts on and experiences of how to support children’s varying ways of being mobile, such as roaming, exploring, (‘just’) walking, and (kick)biking, and how this can also include time and space for quiet reflection and withdrawal for stress recovery. We will discuss the varying and changing characteristics of children’s mobility in cities and how these are being supported in cities in different geographical contexts. This includes considering examples of how the urban environment and planning context can support the diverse ways of children being mobile.

The workshop discussion will be guided by the following questions:

  • What kind of urban environments support versus hinder children’s different ways of being mobile?
  • What are the ‘good’ examples, and what can we learn from them?
  • Which other factors contribute to the support of children’s urban mobilities?
  • How can these other factors be addressed in policy, planning and work related to promoting children’s mobilities?  

Wokshop prepared by:

  • Danielle Ekman Ladru, Associate Professor in Geography and Senior Lecturer in Child and Youth Studies at Department of Education, Uppsala University
  • Tanja Joelsson, Senior Lecturer in Child and Youth Studiesat Department of Education, Uppsala University
  • Terry Hartig, Professor in environmental psychology at the Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University

City gardening and farms for learning and well-being

The desired outcome of this workshop is a first draft for actions to take and key factors to consider when establishing sustainable city gardening and farms in the urban landscape as living, learning resource for children, supporting a healthy mental and physical development.

Many children in urban areas grow up with limited access to the living landscape. Research results show that outdoor education and physical activity have positive effects on children’s learning as well as physical and mental health. There are good examples of outdoor educational activities such as school gardens, where children can learn how to grow their own vegetables and 4H farms, where children meet with farm animals. In such activities, children learn about the ecosystems, how food is produced and how to interact with nature. How can we provide these creative learning environments for our children in urban areas? Space is a restricted resource and economic and social aspects limit the possibilities. Still, society gains a lot of fostering healthy individuals that grows into responsible adults favouring an evolvement of a sustainable environment. What can we do to stimulate a positive development of urban areas for children?

Considering the limited space in growing cities, and the challenges to reach out to all socio-economic layers in the city, which are the key factors for establishing sustainable city gardening and farms? And which are the key challenges to consider, and stakeholders to involve.

Inspirational Speaker: Mr. Kemo Kinteh, Future in our Hands, Gambia

Workshop prepared by:

  • Karin Artursson, Scientific Coordinator, National Veterinary Institute and Adjunct Professor in One Health at Department of Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Public Health, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Bodil Dahlman, Landscape Architect and Lecturer in landscape architecture at Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Measuring segregation and child health

The purpose of this workshop is to discuss and take inventory of variables and aspects needed to be considered when measuring child health inequalities in urban contexts. Is it possible to create an index of urban child health, using data available in Sweden as an example, that provides a fair representation of children’s well-being? Would the same indicators be useful in other settings? If that is the case, it would enable international comparisons and allow us to track improvements in child health over time. The expected outcomes of this workshop is a validated index that can be tested in diverse contexts.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched in 2015 emphasize equity and social justice as essential elements to achieve a viable future. The realization that sustainability, equity and freedom are all equally important elements for humankind’s survival has been highlighted by the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP), something that is highly relevant in the rapid urbanization that is currently going on around the globe. Children are not only our future, they also represent a vulnerable population that needs special attention. To be able to measure and track children’s health in urban environments is thus a priority in order to safeguard their well-being and to harvest their potential.

Workshop prepared by:

  • Mats Målqvist Professor at Department of Women's and Children's Health, Int. Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala University
  • Helena Svaleryd, Professor, Department of Economics, Uppsala University
  • Karin Liljeberg Trotzig, Public Health Strategist, Uppsala Region
  • Johan Dahlstrand, Operations manager, SIGHT - Swedish Insitute for Global Health Transformation
  • Per Kåks Clinical Assistant at Department of Women's and Children's Health, International Maternal and Child Health (IMCH), Uppsala University

Social inclusion and empowerment in urban planning

The anticipated outcome of this workshop is a list of points to consider when involving disadvantaged youth in the entire urban planning cycle - prior to as well as during planning and implementation processes of improvement, regeneration and development of new residential and commercial areas - in order to ensure a connection with their physical spaces in  their local communities.

What are effective ways to listen and act upon the needs and concerns of "disconnected" children and youth in an urban planning context? How can we ensure their ownership of their local spaces? What are the potential pathways to sustainability?  What role do different stakeholders in society play and how can they be involved? What are the benefits of social inclusion of “disconnected” children and youth to the private and public stakeholders?

At the Uppsala Health Summit, we will depart from experiences of the House of Plenty Model and other experiences as the basis for our discussion. We will focus on the application of the model in different contextual settings and open up the discussion for other possible solutions. We will also discuss solutions to sustainability challenges and the role that various stakeholders from the private, public and volunteer sectors can play in the upscaling and funding of such social innovation ventures.

Workshop prepared by:

  • Wanjiku Kaime AtterhögResearcher at Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University

Indicators for children’s built environment

The desired outcome of this workshop is a draft of possible indicators for child friendly cities and how they could be surveyed.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child as an overall international guideline, has proven to be a blunt tool in guiding the planning process to take spatial considerations of children’s needs in urban contexts. There is a lack of international and national regulations and guidelines for planning and designing children’s outdoor environments. Attempts are being made to formulate strategies to plan child friendly cities, but questions can be raised on what level strategies make things really happen in the local communities.

One way is to formulate quantifiable, measurable standards for children’s allocated and designated places such as playgrounds and school yards. Inserting measurable standards in regulations and guidelines could provide means of safeguarding children’s rights in contemporary political and spatial planning contexts. Quantifiable and measurable standards as in square meter open space/child or economic calculations on the health costs for children deprived of open space could be a way to formulate these standards.

Another way is to formulate qualitative standards for spatial distribution, design aspects and play values in order to plan and design inclusive, child-friendly cities. In this context we can define qualitative standards as; designing and shaping spaces to be attractive for activities such as play, game and sports and planning urban structures that entice free mobility.

Which indicators are right to survey from a child’s perspective, what indicators can be surveyed from a planning perspective?

Workshop prepared by:

  • Maria Kylin, Senior lecturer in Landscape planning at the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Karin Åkerblom, Strategic Planner, City Development, Uppsala City

Nature play enhanced with digital elements

In this workshop we will discuss how interactive technology support design of sustainable and engaging play environments accessible to children on an every day basis. 

Society needs to give priority to the outdoor environments of residential areas and schools to promote children´s health and well-being. How can we ensure that children get active outdoors in their everyday lives? We know the capacity of the natural world as well as of the digital worlds to be captivating to children. How can we combine these two worlds to upgrade the play value of our everyday environments? This is important for all children, but for children at risk and children with special needs, easily accessible outdoor environments in the neighbourhood for habitual use are especially important.

The framework of this workshop is research on how we can integrate digital interactivity with the vegetation, natural materials and landscapes of outdoor spaces to combine the positive aspects of computer gaming and play in nature.

In this workshop we will explore, in a hands-on manner, what it is in outdoor settings that build play value. We will discuss how to foster outdoor play with high play value in relation to the different conditions of childhoods across the world.

Workshop prepared by:

  • Annika Wärn, Professor at the Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University
  • Eva-Lotta Pysander, Professor, at the Department of Media Technology and Interaction Design, Royal Institute of Technology
  • Jon Back, Associate senior lecturer at the Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University

Industry-academy collaborations for healthy brain functions through physical activity

The desired outcome of this workshop is to inspire public and non governmental stakeholders to collaborate with companies in their development of innovations for physical activity for healthy brain functions among children and young people.

Commercial forces are often regarded as a counter-force in child healthcare. The sedentary everyday life of children is often blamed on the large and growing commercial supply of passivating products on the consumer market. The prevalence of physical and mental ill-health is growing among children and young people. A large proportion of children and adolescents in urban settings do not reach the recommended level of physical activity and a lot of time is spent sedentary. Also, studies have shown that fitness levels are decreasing.

Several studies have pointed out a close relationship between the level of physical activity and healthy brain functions, including both mental health and cognitive functions. Brain functions among children and adolescents, influenceing both mental health and cognitive capacities, are at risk in urban settings. Prerequisites for physical activity in urban settings is a growing sustainability challenge.

An increasing number initiatives and innovations, both as products and services, promoting physical activity is a positive trend. However, in many cases the development of these innovations need to be supported by scientifically, evidence based interventions.

In this workshop we will explore how we can build fruitful collaborations between between scientists, governments, non-govermental organisations and companies to find long-lasting solutions. Which are the challenges? How can we together meet the children’s need? Is it possible to stimulate companies to create a wide range of health promoting, attractive products and services available on the market for ordinary people at affordable prices?

Workshop prepared by:

  • Gisela Nyberg, Researcher at Department of Physical Activity and Health, Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences
  • Örjan Ekblom, Senior lecturer at Department of Physical Activity and Health, Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences