Understanding the linkages between human health & well-being and greenspace across multiple scales is critical for developing healthy, sustainable and resilient communities. Opportunities for interacting with nature through access or proximity to natural settings and greenspace can have a multitude of health & well-being benefits. As attractive sites for outdoor recreation, natural settings can contribute to increased physical activity, with exercise leading to improved health. The scenic and aesthetic qualities of natural areas likewise contribute to mental and emotional wellness as places for rest and relaxation that reduce stress. Moreover, greenspace may offer important locations for non-pharmaceutical "therapy" as the prominent neurologist, Oliver Sacks, found in treatment of chronic neurological diseases. Disentangling these complex spatial relationships in a human-health context presents particular challenges. Effectively capturing physiological impacts of greenspace on human health & well-being (e.g., stress levels, security, happiness) is difficult due to challenges in measuring affective responses that are influenced by numerous factors across communities (e.g. perception, behaviour), as well as across communities with differences (e.g. in mobility, socioeconomic status, and health risk). We investigate the potential buffering impact of the greenspace occurring in urban areas (parks, greenways, neighborhood canopy) to multiple environmental social stressors, and explore how these vary across communities.
We propose an experimental design that leverages an immersive virtual environment and in situ surveys to test the perceptual and physiological impacts of different greenspace in a controlled setting. Different stimuli will be used to test how greenspace impacts individuals psychological and affective states with a specific focus on identifying widespread typologies of urban greenspace that exist across a variety of cities. We will furthermore map greenspace that offers wide psychological, physical and affective benefit for the public using social media photographs and Google Street Views. These online photographic databases contain an almost unlimited amount of in situ information on interaction with and perceptions of the environment. Rapid advances in machine learning and computer vision have increased the ease of analysis of these volunteered images through automating content classification and feature evaluation. Health researchers have done little to leverage these computational advances for evaluating spatial relationship of greenspace and health. We will validate immersive results by comparing existing GIS databases of health (i.e. asthma rates, cardiovascular disease) with national level evaluation of greenspace. This experimental approach aims to offer robust insights on best practices for prioritizing green strategies across scales for creating healthy communities.
Please Note This Project Is Now Closed.
The Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research (MICHR) seeks innovative translational research projects that will ultimately have significant potential to improve patient and community health outcomes. The goal of this funding is to support interdisciplinary research teams in generating sufficient preliminary data to pursue future extramural funding and publication opportunities. We welcome research proposed at any stage of translation, including:
- preclinical research that aims to connect the basic science of disease with human medicine
- clinical research to better understand a disease in humans
- clinical implementation, involving the adoption of interventions demonstrated useful in the research environment into routine clinical care, and
- the study of health outcomes at the population level to determine the effects of diseases and efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat them
MICHR will fund up to five Classic Cubes ($60K) and 13 Mini Cubes ($15K).
No unit or faculty contribution is required.
Project Submission Process
Interested faculty members please provide the following information to be considered for funding:
Click the Comments tab above, and post a project idea in the Mcubed website. Please do not exceed two paragraphs in length. Provide basic details about the proposed research.
Comment should also include:
- Three cube collaborators - faculty names and units. The team must include 3 faculty from at least 2 units, and 1 faculty member on each team must be from Medicine.
- Grant amount requested ($15K or $60K)
- Studies proposing cell or animal models should provide reasoning of how the research will lead to immediate next step studies in humans.
Comments will be accepted until May 15, 2019.
Note: Project duration is one year from the transfer of funds.
For additional questions about this funding opportunity, please contact Beth LaPensee at email@example.com.
For eligibility requirements, use of funds, and details on the application process, please see: