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LAB University of Applied Sciences and the City of Lahti to develop nature solutions as part of an international network

The joint European Go Green Routes project, with a funding of EUR 10 million, aims to improve the accessibility of recreational areas and to promote nature-based entrepreneurship.

​The Go Green Routes project is funded by the European Union’s most important programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020. More than EUR 600,000 of the total budget of the project will be allocated to Lahti. In addition to LAB and the City of Lahti, the project, coordinated by the University of Limerick, involves nine cities and several companies and universities from different EU countries.

The aim is to improve the accessibility of recreational areas

The Go Green Routes project will start in early summer 2020. During the project, the City of Lahti will build an accessible nature trail to Likolampi as part of the Kintterö Health Forest. The nature trail will be within easy reach from the Päijät-Häme Central Hospital. Nature solutions are already being developed for the area in cooperation between the city and the Joint Municipal Authority for Wellbeing in Päijät-Häme.

The health benefits of recreation in a forest relate in particular to preventive health care, as well as to the restorative and rehabilitation effects it offers. Studies show that roaming in the wild promotes health and well-being.

– Both nature and the built environment have been shown to be linked to the health of the population. Our goal is to study the impact of recreation in nature on well-being and to develop the accessibility of recreational areas, explains Ilkka Väänänen, Senior Researcher at LAB, who works as an expert in exercise physiology in the project.

The outputs of the EU project will be available to residents and businesses in all municipalities and regions, which will benefit the tourism and sports sectors in particular. The four-year major project supports the nature theme of Lahti’s European Green Capital 2021 project.

– As the future green capital, Lahti will be looking for practical environmental solutions that can also be applied elsewhere in the world. Through the Go Green Routes project, LAB and the City of Lahti will strengthen international cooperation aimed at studying and measuring the welfare effects of nature, says Saara Vauramo, Programme Director of the European Green Capital 2021 project.

The approved project application has been meticulously prepared since 2018. LAB’s acceptance to be part of the international Horizon programme is rare, as only 14% of Finnish applications are accepted and so far 1% of funding has been allocated to operators from Finnish universities of applied sciences.

Further information:

Ilkka Väänänen, LAB University of Applied Sciences
ilkka.vaananen[at] tel. +358 50 321 8895

Päivi Sieppi, City of Lahti
paivi.sieppi(at), tel. +358 50 559 4090