This project is developing a tool for evaluating the social, physical or ecological characteristics of the built environment.
Called the BlueHealth Environmental Assessment Tool, or BEAT for short, it will help community members and planners to identify and understand the factors that can maximise the health and wellbeing benefits of blue spaces.
The tool will provide a comprehensive method of assessing any outdoor space that prominently features water, a space in which individuals may experience water, or where people interact indirectly with water, such as by viewing it.
It is primarily being designed for identifying the extent to which a particular site provides opportunities for obtaining ‘exposure’ to water, but also to help understand what impacts there might be on the environment itself.
BEAT can be used as a means of collecting data for monitoring purposes, as a starting point in a planning and design project for upgrading, restoring or providing new access to waterfront landscapes, or as a way of evaluating opinions about a space from the people who use it.
There are two versions of the tool, one for professionals and for community members.
The professional tool is aimed at experts such as landscape architects, ecologists, recreation planners, urban planners or hydrologists, whilst the second version is for local community or citizen groups who have an interest in their local environment and want to be able to check aspects of a blue space. BEAT might enable this user group to assess how safe an area is for their children to go swimming or to educate themselves in urban ecology as well as to help develop a project for the improvement of a local place.