NATURELAB Achieves Milestone in Categorising Nature’s Impact on Health and Well-Being

NATURELAB has reached a significant milestone in exploring the influence of green and blue infrastructures on health, well-being, and community resilience. The project’s latest deliverable introduces a consistent framework of key indicators designed to assess and classify the therapeutic potential of nature sites.
A Brief Overview of NATURELAB:

NATURELAB, a collaborative research project funded by the EU, aims to unlock the benefits of nature-based therapies (NBT) for promoting well-being and supporting health prevention and rehabilitation. Led by Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (LNEC), the project counts on 12 partners and two associated partners from different countries between Europe and South America (Germany, Greece, Peru, Portugal, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom). With a budget of around 5.9 million euros, it was launched in June 2023 and will last 54 months. The project intends to involve 4000 participants in rural, coastal, and urban areas to implement Nature-Based Therapy (NBT) programmes. These initiatives leverage green and blue infrastructures to enhance community resilience, mitigate climate change, promote biodiversity, manage water resources, and address air pollution and noise levels.

About NATURELAB’s latest milestone:

Developed by a consortium of experts with scientific and practical backgrounds, the newly launched report of key indicators comprehensively addresses and categorises the therapeutic and sustainability potential of green and blue infrastructures. Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (LNEC), University of Greifswald (UG) and Wageningen University (WU) built a framework aligned with NATURELAB’s holistic well-being approach, going beyond only health outcomes. The indicators comprise the characteristics of the natural sites, and its context, including the variables that can impact health and well-being, as well as the requests that ensure people can have comfort and their basic needs attended to. With a broader goal, the framework also encompasses indicators that capture the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to enhancing the resilience of the sites and the population, boosting communities’ sustainability. 

NATURELAB categorises the indicators into four sections, incorporating spatial characteristics, infrastructure features, natural elements, and cultural ecosystem services of green and blue areas. What sets this framework apart is its integrative approach, which combines the analysis of sustainability and resilience indicators like geophysical context, water management, air quality, and noise pollution of the various project’s experimental sites. From that, the framework looks to ensure that green and blue infrastructures keep bringing resilient and smart solutions for the communities in the face of environmental challenges such as climate change.

The primary objective of this deliverable was to establish structured and standardised guidelines for assessing the experimental sites across Portugal, Greece, The Netherlands, Germany, and Peru, facilitating a common evaluation framework and a deeper understanding of the characteristics of each site. The indicators will undergo testing and validation in the next stage of the project implementation, with results supporting the selection of the set of indicators most suitable to assess the therapeutic potential of the green and blue infrastructures.

Moreover, this report offers valuable tools for policymakers, urban planners, and communities, to integrate nature into decision-making processes and prioritise nature-based solutions (NBS), providing evidence and a deeper understanding of the role played by nature features in promoting community well-being and resilience. This document is a systematic analysis brought by NATURELAB that paves the way for a healthier and sustainable future where green and blue infrastructures not only have therapeutic capabilities but also play a role in tackling environmental and sustainability challenges. 

The report can be accessed in here.

Learn more about the project:

NATURELAB website:

 Consortium Partners:
Name of Participating Organisation
Laboratório Nacional de Engenharia Civil (LNEC)
Klinikum derUniversität zu Köln (UHC)
Forest Therapy Hub (FTHub)
University of Greifswald (UG)
Kentro Merimnas Oikogeneias Kai Paidiou (KMOP)
Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação – Consultoria Empresarial e Fomento da Inovação, S.A. (SPI)
Asociación Peruana de Horticultura Terapéutica y Social (APHTS)
Município de Sintra (CMS)
Rio Neiva – Associação de Defesa do Ambiente (RN)
Wageningen University (WU)
The Netherlands
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)
The Netherlands
FICUS Peru Desarrolo Socioambiental (FICUS)
BioCon Valley® GmbH (BCV)
Canary Wharf Consulting Limited (CWC)
United Kingdom