The GroundsWell team of researchers, local communities, implementers and policymakers will create a virtuous cycle of research, data, policy, implementation and active citizenship. By working together, we will all better understand and evidence the role of UGBS within wider social, economic, environmental, cultural and health systems. We will identify and implement actions to maximise health benefits from UGBS. Our democratisation of the research and decision-making process will be based on principles of co-design, co-implementation, co-evaluation and co-translation.
GroundsWell has four guiding principles:
1) addressing issues of health and inequalities (including social and environmental/climate justice);
2) creating a virtuous cycle of research, policy, implementation and active citizenship;
3) co-producing, co-implementing, co-evaluating and co-translating; and
4) acknowledging complexity of urban ‘life’ (i.e. inclusive of the whole urban environment and how communities live their lives in such environments).
The main research will take place in three cities – Belfast, Edinburgh and Liverpool. These have sufficient similarities (such as large and diverse low-income communities) but also distinct features (such as geography and culture) making them, collectively, an ideal laboratory. Each city already has policies and programmes in place to improve UGBS, but there is much room for improvement. GroundsWell will take a systems approach. This means understanding the multiple and interconnecting components of policy-making, practice, perception and people which together affect the presence, location, character and use of UGBS. It also means working to transform the system so that the components function together. To do this, GroundsWell will mix co-development of new theoretical frameworks, novel data science including simulation, health economics and policy analysis, but at its heart will be community engagement and partnership. We will develop and use meaningful community engagement, co-production and citizen science to understand the system, identify how and where it is broken, and co-create solutions. We anticipate interventions aimed at how the UGBS system operates, and small-scale interventions around actual spaces and their use.