Team info
Gubing Wang
Mar Cirera Solé
Ranzhi Wei
Number of team members:


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We are looking for new team members with the following skills

Work with designers to realise prototypes with programming - App development - Knowledge of sensors and/or instrumentation is a plus

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The challenge

Many countries around the world are far behind the goal of active ageing set by WHO in 2002. Annually over 5 million people worldwide die due to low or insufficient physical activity, and feeling of loneliness is associated with higher risk of mortality. Group gardening has a few benefits for people, particularly for older adults; for example, it has a positive effect toward lowering dementia risk, older adults also indicated that community gardens helps them with engaging in physical activities, creating social connections, building sense of accomplishment, relieving stress, producing fresh food, creating environmental justice, and reminiscing (if the garden experience was part of their family upbringing). However, older adults also experience barriers of participating in community gardens, such as: chronic health conditions, perceived lack of support from other members and the government, perceived lack of respect from others, clashes of opinions, theft and vandalism.

The solution

We designed a product-service system, named Green Fingers, which aims to address these barriers faced by older adults, and encourage all citizens to participate in group gardening in their communities. Our initial target group is older adults living in urban neighbourhood, yet the beneficiaries extend to all citizens living in the neighbourhood as well as insurance companies, healthcare systems and local governments. Firstly, yesterday’s child is today’s adult and tomorrow’s grandmother or grandfather, hence a life course approach is needed for active ageing. Secondly, being physically and socially active are beneficial to all age groups and this will lower the financial burden for the local government, healthcare systems and insurance companies. At the same time our innovations serve well for people living in areas with limited green space in general. Green Fingers is co-designed with older adults living in the Hanevoet neighbourhood, Eindhoven, Netherlands; one insight we would like to share is that some older adults are interested in gardening but do not know where to start and/or do not like some specific activities in gardening (e.g., remove pests). Our reaction to this insight is to introduce training workshops to help older adults start with gardening and to form a support group where group members can give each other advice. We also plan to continuously collect inputs and feedback from users through the service we provided: the users can leave feedback and we also reach out with surveys, informal interviews, and gardening-along activities. Not only does Green Fingers provide a physical meeting place for citizens to garden together, but also a service to support them along the process. The gardening beds are designed to be used in different weather conditions (mobile, indoor, outdoor), and most importantly, for people with different capabilities (consider the ergonomics in ageing). The service helps the gardening group to figure out what tasks are suitable for each member to make the gardening process inclusive. Besides, trainings, maintenance, and communication supports will be provided, to lower the barrier for group gardening involving older adults. This product-service system forms a framework for change.


Creating a community for active ageing through group gardening in urban neighbourhood

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