HEAT project kicked-off in Turku!

In April 2018 the HEAT project- Participatory urban planning for healthier urban communities began and Baltic Region Healthy Cities Association hosted the kick-off in Turku in mid-May.

The three-year project’s goal is to bring together various sectors and residents to create a cohesive cycling and walking plan for urban environments. The aim is first to find new, more effective options for inclusion and later to try them in practice. Baltic Sea Healthy Cities Association is the lead partner of this project. Other partners are Valonia, service centre for sustainable development and energy of Southwest Finland, Turku University of Applied Sciences, City of Jurmala, Tartu City, Cyckelfrämjandet and Institute of Baltic Studies. The project has received funding from the EU Interreg Central Balltic Programme.

Prevents Premature Deaths

The WHO has developed a calculation model, called HEAT – Health Evaluation Assessment Tool. Alongside the kick-off meetings partners also met for a HEAT Tool training day where partners could learn how to use the tool and about the history of its use. In road transport planning, the common practice has been to calculate how well designed traffic arrangements prevent premature deaths. The prevention of one premature death has an economic value which can then be used to advocate for investment in infrastructure. WHO has taken the calculation model used by transport designers to the HEAT tool to calculate premature deaths prevented by cycling due to health benefits, which can then be used to calculate the economic benefits.

The aim of the HEAT project is to make the WHO calculation model a common practice in urban and traffic planning. The participating partners will learn how to use and apply the HEAT Tool in their own cities and then how to involve city residents in the planning process since residents are the experts of their own cities.