Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN) is a groundbreaking project funded by the Natural Environment Research Council to explore the links between natural environments in urban settings and mental wellbeing. It is led by a team in the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield, along with colleagues in the University of Derby and Herriot-Watt University, and a range of practice partners.

IWUN’s central aim is to study how Sheffield’s natural environment affects the health and wellbeing of the its residents, especially of those in deprived areas and who suffer from mental ill-health. This includes researching the links between biodiversity and wellbeing, how people experience urban nature, what kind of spaces they find helpful and what actions will best strengthen those links. The project would also like to understand how the benefits of nature can be used more efficiently in clinical practice.

The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare will provide expertise and advice from having worked at the interface of greenspace and health for the last 10 years, and publicise the results from the project through our clinical networks and events.

We have also contributed to the running of the national IWUN conference and the focus group. This will identify clinicians’ thoughts on natural spaces and wellbeing, how best to engage their patients in using them, which information from the research project is useful, and how it can be publicised to ensure that there is maximum uptake by medical staff.

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