About the project

Walking in a park or along the water, growing food, cultivating flowers, exercising in a natural setting… What if these activities were options to fight loneliness and to improve our wellbeing in the city?

What is Recetas?

The objectives and approach of the project

The Challenge

RECETAS (Re-imagining Environments for Connection and Engagement: Testing Actions for Social Prescribing in Natural Spaces) is a €5 million EU-funded project aiming at testing and evaluating Nature-Based Social Prescribing across Europe, Latin America and Australia.

The challenge of RECETAS is to analyse, understand and evaluate how nature in the city can promote social interaction, help combat loneliness and improve the health and mental well-being of city dwellers.

RECETAS approach

RECETAS is grounded in participatory principles and explores loneliness through a transdisciplinary lens, integrating social, behavioural, health, and natural sciences.
It will use randomized controlled trials (RCT) and other epidemiological, anthropological, and health economic methods to examine socially and culturally innovative nature-based social prescribing (NBSP) in six cities: Marseille (France), Barcelona (Spain), Prague (Czech Republic), Helsinki (Finland), Cuenca (Ecuador) and Melbourne (Australia).

RECETAS includes:

  • Social network analysis to understand relationships and pathways for intervention among stakeholders working at the intersection of nature-based solutions and mental health
  • Inventory of existing nature-based interventions and the creation of new ones using participatory methods and literature reviews of current practices
  • Design and evaluation of NBSP to understand the optimal conditions and impacts across diverse populations and different geographic, social, and cultural contexts
  • Digital platform connecting users in the delivery and uptake of NBSP and further extending the reach of NBSP globally

“The goal is for RECETAS not only to contribute to the scientific evidence, but to offer healthcare providers, care professionals, social service organizations and communities sensible solutions to address loneliness in a cost-effective way”

Jill Litt

ISGlobal researcher and Project Director

Project Impacts

RECETAS responds to the current global context, where cities are at the forefront of the environmental and social transformations needed to address challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, aging populations and mental health. The RECETAS studies will make important contributions to the growing body of evidence around the potential for nature-based social interventions to promote health and wellbeing in cities. At the same time, these solutions aim to reduce pressure on already stressed medical systems by using non-medical nature-based community referral strategies that address loneliness, an important precursor to chronic diseases and mental health disorders. Other project outputs will link research with practice and policy, enabling citizens, providers and decision makers to optimally implement and scale-up NBPS interventions.

This research and innovation project is carried out by a consortium of 13 institutions from 9 different countries and coordinated by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal.

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