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Following the extensive research and analysis of existing environmental assessment tools, BlueHealth researchers developed a novel tool to evaluate the social, physical or ecological characteristics of urban blue spaces.

The BlueHealth Environmental Assessment Tool (BEAT), improves understanding of the factors that can maximise the health and wellbeing benefits of blue spaces. Including where people interact with the water directly (in, on or around) or indirectly (by viewing or sensing it).

To improve usability, two versions of the tool have been created, one for landscape, planning and environmental management professionals, and one for community groups. Both versions are free to access online, enabling users to make simple, practical and comprehensive assessments of blue spaces both before and after design changes are made.

Read the BlueHealth publication about the research and analysis undertaken to create the BEAT. For more information, you can contact Himansu Mishra.

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Making assessments using the BEAT

The tool’s questionnaire allows stakeholders to assess qualitative and quantitative measures using their experience and judgment.

The questionnaire’s guidance is informed by published evidence in the field and evaluations of 28 existing tools used in urban and transport planning, landscape architecture and management, urban design and public health.

Following an assessment, the user is provided with graphically presented data that can:

  • Support planning and design projects
  • Inform projects to improve access and restore waterfront landscapes
  • Evaluate opinions from the people who use a blue space

This information helps practitioners to build a supporting evidence-base for planning urban blue spaces across as a public health resource.

For more information about this tool please contact Himansu Mishra. 

When using the Tool please include the following reference: Bell, Simon; Mishra, Himansu Sekhar; Elliott, Lewis R.; Shellock, Rebecca; Vassiljev, Peeter; Porter, Miriam; Sydenham, Zoe; White, Mathew P. (2020). Urban Blue Acupuncture: A Protocol for Evaluating a Complex Landscape Design Intervention to Improve Health and Wellbeing in a Coastal Community. Sustainability, 12 (10), 4084.10.3390/su12104084.

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BEAT Professional Tool

The Professional Tool has been created for stakeholders including landscape architects, ecologists, recreation planners, urban planners or hydrologists who know the relevant domains, methods and instruments for environmental assessments.

A team of experts might be used to collect and interpret the data. This includes analysing variables such as air or water pollution, or reviewing statistical sources such as socio-economic data about local residents, and then relating these factors to one another.

Access the Professional Tool here.

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BEAT Community Tool

The Community Tool has been designed for citizens and community groups interested in assessing their local environment. For example, this could be to assess how safe a swimming spot is for the family or to obtain quality data that can support a community project.

The tool also makes a great educational resource for students looking to collect evidence for school or research projects.

Access the Community Tool here.