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Browsing by Subject "wellbeing"

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  • Posio, Seriina (2024)
    The planetary health approach emphasizes the interconnectedness between human health and natural systems. Urban planners also have the opportunity to promote planetary health through their work by reducing the negative environmental impacts of planning solutions and by increasing decisions that support residents' health and wellbeing. Numerous studies have shown that nature promotes human physical, mental, and social health, underscoring the importance of accessible nearby nature, especially in growing cities. This thesis examines urban planning in the city of Lahti from the perspective of planetary health. The study aims to investigate how nearby nature and its health and wellbeing effects, particularly for children and young people, have been considered and identified in land use planning. Additionally, the goal is to determine how conflicting land use interests are prioritized in decision-making. The research material consists of interviews with officials from the Lahti Urban Environment service area, and the data is analyzed with qualitative content analysis and thematization. The results indicate that nearby nature is perceived as an important part of Lahti's urban structure. Urban greenspaces and nearby nature areas are most concretely taken into account by zoning them as green areas in general and detailed plans. Furthermore, urban planning utilizes surveys of nearby nature conducted in early childhood education institutions and schools to ensure accessibility of nearby nature for children and adolescents. The appreciation of Lahti's planners, nature-friendly organizational culture, functional planning practices, and the recognition of the city's environmental efforts support the preservation of nearby nature areas in the urban structure. However, green areas without zoning are constantly at risk of being allocated for other land use purposes in a growing city. Planners describe their work as a continual search for compromises between conflicting desires, goals, and land use interests. They hold a central position of power and responsibility in making sustainable planning decisions, which can also be guided by planners' own values, attitudes, and expertise. Systems thinking required by planetary health approach along with research findings on the health and wellbeing effects of nearby nature, should be more effectively integrated into urban planning, political decision-making, and public discourse. Although this study focuses on planners in one city, it offers interesting insights into effective urban planning practices and current challenges within the framework of planetary health.
  • Wahlbeck, Ella (2023)
    The thesis explores possibilities for mental health promotion in urban planning trough a case study of the community space in Lapinlahti, Helsinki. Lapinlahti is a former psychiatric hospital, and the area has in the 2010’s been developed through community efforts into a center for mental wellbeing and culture in Helsinki, a “Lapinlahti for all”. The future use of the area has been contested for the past years, with the City of Helsinki and the organizations at Lapinlahti having different views on how the area and it’s cultural and historical mental health legacy should be preserved and developed. In the discussions, statements and visions, the area’s mental health value has also been translated into urban planning, taking many forms. Mental health is a value that has traditionally not been prioritized or regarded as a value of its own in urban planning, and although the relationship between urban form and wellbeing is well known, urban (mental) health is seldom tied to cities physical- and land-use planning (Kim et al, 2022; Corburn 2004). The thesis approaches this topic by analyzing mental health as a planning objective, discussing how different understandings and approaches to mental health have affected the planning visions surrounding Lapinlahti. The thesis uses a theoretical framework of urban governance and critical discourse analysis (CDA) to seek an understanding to the different approaches to the area’s development, and identify the different understandings, connections and visions that surround Lapinlahti. The study identifies three discursive constructions of Lapinlahti: Lapinlahti as a site for cultural heritage, Lapinlahti as a place for mental health, and Lapinlahti as a site for development. The results show that all actors in their development schemes have considered the area’s mental health value from a cultural-historical perspective, viewing the area as a site for mental health history. This history is however understood and manifested in different ways for the actors, influencing different visions for how the area should be developed and what interests and/or values that should guide the development. The thesis continues with presenting three approaches for mental health promotion in urban planning, concluding that planning should be attentive of how the space is governed, the relationship between mental health and the space, and the activities and meanings embedded in space.
  • Niittynen, Taru (2022)
    Domesticated horses have been used for various tasks over their thousands of years of shared history with humans. To be able to perform these tasks every horse needs to learn the needed skills, and this requires systematic training. Training of adult horses has been studied for a long time and comparisons between the efficacy of different training methods have been done. There have also been some studies comparing how much and when young foals need to be handled for them to grow into easily trainable adults. From adult horses it is known that emotional state affects cognitive processes and with that also their learning efficiency and speed. The early stages of training young horses have not been studied very well. There is no clear picture about how young horses feel during training and how that affects their learning. In my thesis I studied young horses’ emotional states while learning new tasks and how that affects their learning. I followed the early training of 19 young horses (11 one-year-olds and 8 two- and three-year-olds) by videotaping five training sessions and collecting saliva samples before and after three of those sessions to analyse cortisol and oxytocin. From the videos I analysed how fast horses responded to trainer’s asks and how unfocused they were. From the hormone samples I measure the change in cortisol and oxytocin levels during training. Salivary cortisol has been widely used to measure acute stress. Oxytocin on the other hand is a newer indicator for positive emotions. To the best of my knowledge salivary oxytocin has never been used in horses. My data showed that the horses learned the required tasks: they became quicker at their responses and focused better during the course of training. Because my data was quite small and individual variation in the hormone levels was high, the results might have been affected by these factors. Linear mixed effect models showed that higher oxytocin levels before training session predicted quicker responses during training and lower levels after training predicted lower focusedness. Bigger increase in cortisol levels during training compared to the before level explained quicker responses and better focusedness, but higher levels before training resulted to lower focusedness and slower responses. This is in line with previous studies of adult horses, that showed that horses in a better emotional state and with less stress learn faster and are more interested in working with humans. This shows that it is important to not only focus on physical wellbeing but also mental wellbeing from early on in horses’ life.
  • Nuorivaara, Essi (2021)
    In recent years, the role of economic models in guiding government policy has provoked discussion as human wellbeing and the state of the environment are threatened by multiple sustainability challenges, most notably by the ecological sustainability crisis. The mainstream economic approach has received criticism since it has not been able to solve these challenges and thus, several alternative approaches in pursuit for a just and sustainable future have gained popularity both nationally and internationally. In this thesis I focus on the wellbeing economy concept in the Finnish welfare state in the early 2020s. Wellbeing economy was introduced in Finland by the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Wealth (SOSTE) in 2012 to highlight the interdependency of human wellbeing and economy. The concept has since been developed and realized by different actors of the society, but it is not yet that well-known among the public. To find out the potential role of this new economic approach in the transition towards sustainable welfare society, it is important to get a clear picture of how the concept is interpreted by its advocates. Therefore, in my case study, I examined the expert narratives of wellbeing economy. My main research question is: What does the concept of wellbeing economy mean in Finland in the early 2020s? This question is complemented by two sub-questions: 1) What are the shared contents and practices associated with wellbeing economy? and 2) What are the key differences between different conceptions of wellbeing economy? The underlying disagreements in theory and in practice of wellbeing economy might impact the integrity of the concept even if the concept formulation of wellbeing economy seems consistent. I conducted seven (7) semi-structured expert interviews from five (5) different organizations during the spring 2021. The interviews were thematically analysed with a focus on the memes of neoliberal narratives and the memes of alternative narratives as well as the conflicting memes in alternative narratives. In this study, a meme is defined as the structural component of a narrative. Finally, I identified similarities and differences in these building blocks of wellbeing economy narratives between different experts. I found that there were more shared memes than differences in the experts’ conceptions of wellbeing economy. Most of the interviewees mentioned memes of neoliberal narrative. All the interviewees mentioned the alternative narrative memes connected networks, sustainability, cooperation with others, and human dignity, prosperity, and wellbeing. Most of them also considered the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity in crisis. However, the meme a new economic system created the greatest division in the interpretations of wellbeing economy. In conclusion, some interviewees supported the neoliberalism more clearly while others opposed this narrative, and the rest were not clearly for or against the growth-agenda. The ambiguity of the concept especially in terms of economic growth should be further discussed in addition to specifying, for instance, what is meant by sustainability and wellbeing in wellbeing economy. Further research is also needed to find out how the discussion about wellbeing economy concept will develop in Finland and internationally.