This project questioned what makes a park a park, and how green spaces and urban development should work together to ensure communities are getting the most out of the areas they live in.
In order to understand how technology may be used to improve health and wellbeing in communities we started with an insight sprint.
Our Insight Sprints are rapid research efforts with a holistic approach. They bring together user-led qualitative research alongside case studies and data analysis and included; literature reviews, 13 diary studies, nine expert interviews with people working in the health and well-being field, vox-pop interviews with local residents and observing how people use the space in the park and what activities currently take place.
From the research, we uncovered a set of challenges:
- Accessibility and exploration
- Safety and security
- No one size fits all policy
- Connecting with nature
- Life gets in the way of healthy behaviour
- Social health habits
The next step was to prototype and demonstrate how these challenges might be solved. This was done through implementing technology and interventions in the park. Four UK SMEs took part in an Open Call over the summer of 2017.
In order to encourage people to get active in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, OpenPlay developed a landing page specially focused on the surrounding leisure activities the park provides, making it easier for people to find and book local facilities.
BetterPoints is an application that enables users to earn points as they exercise, which is recorded in the app. In order to incentivise people to walk, run or cycle in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, BetterPoints offered extra points per minute of activity performed in the park. These points could be exchanged for a high-street retail voucher or donated to a charity or local community group.
Living Map designed a detailed, layered map of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This map makes it easier for users to navigate the park and encourages people to get out and explore. It features bio-diversity routes and lit routes for people wanting to travel through the park after sunset.
The Ecological Sequestration Trust worked alongside Groundwork London to design a tailored, holistic intervention. They convened a series of workshops using participants who had been identified as being at risk of social isolation (and were over fifty years old). Based on their findings, they developed an SMS service that encouraged participants to visit the park. Each weekly text provided a weather forecast, suggested travel routes (including disruptions), activities and the telephone number of QEOP information line.