Tecnalia explains how the design of cities affects people's well-being on Radio Euskadi


In the programme ‘Ganbara de cerca’, Karmele Herranz-Pascual, who has a PhD in Environmental and Social Psychology and specialises in Urban Comfort, described some of the conclusions of the Urban Klima 2050 study, in which psychosocial benefits have been linked to implementing nature-based solutions.

How does the design of cities affect people's well-being? This was the question posed on Thursday, February 20 on the Radio Euskadi programme Ganbara de cerca (Ganbara Up Close). Karmele Herranz-Pascual, who has a PhD in Environmental and Social Psychology and works for Tecnalia, is a specialist in Urban Comfort and is one of the researchers working on a study on applying nature-based solutions and their joint benefits at a municipal level within the framework of Urban Klima 2050.

The researcher explained that greener urban design has a multitude of psychosocial benefits because it enables interaction and social cohesion. “It allows us to identify with the places we live in, the identity with the people we share it with, and contributes to improving well-being and comfort,” she said.

In this sense, Herranz-Pascual argued that public urban spaces have a social and cultural function, and that cities with more natural elements “also allow us to be physically active, and contribute to improving the physiological health of citizens”.

The specialist also referred to the effects of climate change in cities, which are reflected in a general rise in temperatures. Faced with this problem, she advocated urban designs that ensure that there are “non-artificial” shaded areas that also contribute to creating greater biodiversity. She also pointed out that natural spaces have a restorative function in reducing stress and restoring cognitive functions. “Instead of making our cities more artificial, we need to re-naturalise them,” she concluded.