SPRING|For thriving residents of resilient cities

We are SPRING, a research consortium of the Resilient Delta Initiative, a partnership between Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus MC, Delft University of Technology and Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

What is SPRING?

Our team consists of academic experts from the medical, technical and social domains. We work intensively with public authorities, companies, citizens and others. Together we conduct research in order to improve the lifestyles, living environment and life expectancy of residents of neighbourhoods like Rotterdam-Zuid, with the objective of reducing the differences in health and well-being in the city. We do that by means of long-term research with, for and by residents and other local parties. In this way, practice and scholarship go hand in hand at SPRING.

We want to understand what truly contributes to the health and well-being of residents in vulnerable neighbourhoods. We can’t do that alone. For this reason, we are joining forces with residents, public authorities, universities, businesses and other involved organisations. They all have a different, valuable perspective on the matter. And, no less importantly, indispensable knowledge of practice.

Want to learn more about SPRING? Watch the video below.

Challenges and solutions

SPRING is interested in the social, physical and administrative context in which people live. Which is why we have people with different professional backgrounds and work with people who have knowledge from daily practice. In this way, we investigate how well-being is affected in each stage of life. Relevant questions include: which neighbourhood are you born in? Can you play safely outdoors as a child? Does your environment promote healthy choices? Is there sufficient employment? Are care and other amenities in the neighbourhood accessible?

We sit down with policymakers, professionals and residents of Rotterdam-Zuid. But also with other parties: from GPs to project developers and from healthcare insurers to temp agencies. By bringing all that knowledge and experience together, we can obtain a good picture of the challenges and of possible solutions. We try those solutions out in – and with – practice in various Living Labs. In this way, we learn what does and doesn’t work in practice.

From insight to policy

We don’t focus exclusively on the individual, because a person’s well-being depends on many different factors. Our approach is systematic: we look at the bigger picture. We take everything that can affect people’s well-being into account: work and income, living environment, home situation and health. Sometimes, something goes wrong with one of those factors. For example, an unsafe living environment, financial problems or a difficult home situation. Because factors are often interrelated, that will also impact on the rest, making it harder to focus adequately on your health. If we are to achieve lasting improvements in health, we need to be able to step back and see the whole system.

We share the knowledge we gain in this way with academics, municipalities, business and above all with residents. We make the solutions available to everyone that can benefit from them, not just in Rotterdam but also in other cities within and outside the Netherlands.

Living Labs

With SPRING’s Living Labs, we are turning Rotterdam into an ecosystem for open innovation. Our academics investigate an issue on location, together with involved residents, Rotterdam municipality, civil society organisations and other stakeholders. We gain knowledge and try out methods directly in practice.

Within SPRING, we are developing various pilots. In one of them, we are working with teenage girls from Rotterdam-Zuid to explore what they need to embrace an active lifestyle. We are focusing specifically on young people because they often remain invisible. Moreover, research shows that they are harder to involve in activities.

There are many factors that have an impact on health. In order to counteract health differences, a lot of knowledge is therefore required. That knowledge is distributed among many different parties, including residents. In the Living Labs, we gather data from daily practice. We combine that with data we collect from sources like the CBS and businesses, plus data from other academic research. We bring all that knowledge together, so that we can draw evidence-based conclusions.

Learn more about SPRING

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