Lw2 Cyprus Institute (CyI), Cyprus


As part of the Erasmus+ CliCCHE project, the Sustainable Built Environment group of the Cyprus Institute ran a series of workshops titled “Urban Health”, with the participation of Cyprus Institute (CyI) students, colleagues, citizens and public administration representatives. The aim of the workshops was to introduce students and teachers to a novel, non-formal mode of education that builds upon the competences of partakers and promotes the principles of co-participation and co-design focused on mitigating climate change and improving health in cities. While these principles are essential components of any urban regeneration project, we mimicked regeneration values and integrated them in the development of the curriculum. During the workshops, we tested several innovative participative tools (flipped classroom, debate, expert panel, simulation software and on-site mapping activities) to foster shared and conscious experiences among teachers, students and all kinds of stakeholders.

The series of workshops was based on acquisition of new knowledge through the first result of the CliCCHE project (R1) and a transdisciplinary holistic methodology developed in the second result (R2). The methodology was structured in distinct sessions, covering the topics of “Integrated vision of Urban health regeneration”, “Local inquiry and mapping: Get to know the neighborhood from above and from within”, “Heath and Climate Profile Model”, “Framework for model Evaluation”, “Project Scenarios”, “Project proposals selection” and “Results communication and dissemination”. These topics were defined in a previous stage of the CliCCHE project and the local workshops were activated as a testing bed, to identify strong and weak points of the proposed methodology. Students and personnel of the CyI were notified through online dissemination as well as print material posted all over the campus buildings. Student participation was voluntary and only required an active enrollment in one of the programs offered at the CyI, whether that was Masters or Doctoral degrees (as the CyI does not grant undergraduate degrees). In this way, students from across all research centers, with a range of expertise and interests, were invited to join the Urban Health workshops.


All lectures took place at the campus of the Cyprus Institute in Nicosia, Cyprus, and students were able to join either in physical presence or remotely via Teams web calls. Activities held in classrooms also took place inside the institute premises. Activities related to mapping and local inquiry were carried out in the historical center of Strovolos in Nicosia, around the area of the Chryseleousa church.


The seven activities were carried out within approximately two months, beginning in March and ending in May. Each activity was delivered in two sessions, of approximately 1.5 hours each; one session included a traditional lecture delivery, and the other an interactive exercise. Since participation was voluntary, the workshops needed to be flexible to the schedules of students and trainers, therefore some changes were made along the way. The eventual schedule was the following:


The main instructors throughout the series were Prof. Salvatore Carlucci, leader of the Sustainable Built Environment Group and Dr. Ioanna Kyprianou, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Sustainable Built Environment Group. Local and international guest lecturers and trainers also joined specific lectures: Dr. Graziano Marchesani (UNICAM) illustrated a software tool within the Health and climate profile, Iason Giraud (CYI) demonstrated an interactive immersive reality tool during the Project scenarios session, and Amber de la Haye (Healthy Cities Generator) ran a demo on an online tool, during the Projects proposal selection. Five students of various climate-related PhD programs attended the workshop, either physically or remotely and where the schedule permitted, events were opened to the public and an audience was present. This included colleagues of various levels (professors, postdoctoral fellows, and researchers), citizens and a representative of the Municipality of Strovolos.


The succession of sessions followed the main methodology and tools developed during the R2 and R3 phases of the CliCCHE project. Here, a description of the tools, main events and highlights will be described. The self-study approach was the first tool used in the workshop series, with a reading list including the R1 report, research articles from reputable scientific journals, as well as secondary sources such as websites, being sent out to students well before the first workshop. In the urban regeneration topic, students were introduced to the second and third tools: the flipped classroom and the debate. While the latter is a specific exercise, the flipped classroom is essentially an overarching tool, where students take over control of the classroom and become agents in the delivery of knowledge. On this occasion, they were provided with a set of guidelines, debate statement and a scenario of challenges that Strovolos municipality often deals with. As with any debate procedure, students were asked to call upon a library of knowledge (obtained through the reading material) and provide arguments, aiming to convince the audience (CyI trainers) that their positioning should be chosen. Although an exercise based on fictitious grounds, it served as a crash course into the essence of the whole workshop series: interactive, non-formal education that is shaped by and with students.

The next tools involved mapping the area of Strovolos, where students firstly accessed online databases and obtained a “view from above”. Subsequently, with the help of trainers, a short circular walking route was planned and instruments were used to collect temperature data, thermal images and videos. Qualitative information was also gathered in fieldnotes, through a small number of interviews and observations of vehicular and non-vehicular traffic in key streets. Due to the mixed methods, the first walk in March lasted over two hours, so a second walk took place in May in smaller timespan, repeating the experiment without qualitative assessments. Through this activity, students got in touch with the very real challenges posed in the study area and were able to also analyze the obtained information to assess the strongest and weakest assets of that urban space.

Moving on from the field assessment, students participated in another flipped classroom activity, where they became members of an expert panel and discussed climate modelling within the health and climate profile session. One of the students served as moderator and all had to respond to questions from an audience, discussing how modelling techniques can be applied in public health, renewables and urban heat islands research. To complete the health and climate profile, a guest lecture also took place, with Dr. Marchesani presenting the Ladybug tool and the interface he created, linking climate modelling to human health. Through the software, it was possible to assess climate characteristics and indices of thermal comfort for specific cities of the world, indicating for instance the degree of extreme thermal stress of pedestrians in unshaded streets of Nicosia, over the summer period. Further software solutions were explored under the lens of project scenarios, where Mr. Giraud presented a number of developed tools aiming to create a novel data-enabled participatory decision-making toolkit, focusing on neighborhood sustainability and accessibility. These included an accessibility and a neighborhood mapper, which allowed for user input and the possibility for post-processing evaluation in order to provide new design criteria, within a co-design process.

Within the application of the place standard tool, the CyI staff was joined by citizens and a member of the public administration, to exchange on priorities and areas of interest for different stakeholders. This was outlined within the evaluation framework portion of the workshop, and through a traditional lecture delivery and interactive online survey participation, the main challenges and advantages of the Strovolos area were analyzed. The result of the survey facilitated a fruitful discussion, where the positioning, barriers to action, obligations and priorities of public administration became evident. The discussion revealed how action is often hindered or stalled due to mismatches between preferences of community members, private organizations, local authorities and national governments. Emphasis was therefore again put on the role of co-participatory approaches in urban regeneration projects, which often determine the success or failure of initiatives. In a similar context to the place standard approach, the online web tool Healthy Cities Generator (HCG) was employed for the project proposals selection, with an invited speaker (Amber de la Haye) representing the developers’ team and providing a short tutorial and demonstration. The HCG was used to create two proposals with varying identities and prioritization of either pedestrian areas or public transportation, and discussion revolved around the objective function of regeneration projects. While both proposal displayed merits and drawbacks, the most appropriate solution would be the one matching the preferences of all (or most) of the involved parties. The workshop series was wrapped up by presentations of the final deliverables of students. Guidelines stated that the format could follow a traditional or innovative route, and the topic could be generic or specific. Students therefore had the freedom to select the scope and means of delivery, according to their interests and competences. The end result included a poster presentation, a CliCCHE newspaper, a map-temperature examination, a sensory analysis and a co-participatory board game.

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