The cooperation between Ülemiste City and the University of Tartu creates a unique tool for improving health behaviour
Ülemiste City and the University of Tartu started cooperating to create a scientific model to improve the health behaviour of nearly 12,000 people in the campus. It is part of a larger plan to create a working, living and development environment that motivates people and promotes their success. The created solution can later be successfully applied in other cities and campuses around the world.
Ülemiste City has several different cooperation projects with universities. ‘Last summer, in cooperation with TalTech, we established the Smart City Professorship, which helps to create solutions in the development of urban space in three major areas – mobility, environment, and economy. In cooperation with the Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences, we will be able to introduce Ülemiste City Radar this summer, which measures the success of the entire Ülemiste City development environment using 40 different indicators, considering the attractiveness of both the business and green environment and support services. However, the University of Tartu health behaviour survey focuses specifically on people and the environmental factors that affect them. To be able to contribute to the success of each of our talents in maintaining and promoting health at the grassroots level, we established cooperation with the University of Tartu,’ explained Kadi Pärnits, Chairman of the Management Board of Mainor AS.
The creation of the research model is part of a large-scale study by the University of Tartu, which focuses on three main influencing factors – a person’s physical, mental and social health (e.g. inflammatory employment relationships or even discrimination). They are monitored at three different levels – what the employee, employer and campus can do.
‘There are different models that consider the first two, company and individual levels, but it is known that no city, campus, country or developer has considered them all at once. This makes the model a unique product in the world, which we could develop as a product when it is completed. Ülemiste Health Centre and start-ups there are ready to do so. On the other hand, our strategic decision is to develop the urban environment based on our talents and thereby make Ülemiste City an internationally attractive environment where every talent can succeed,’ said Pärnits.
Andero Uusberg, a senior researcher in psychology at the University of Tartu, is conducting the research on behalf of the University of Tartu.
‘The in-depth study involves health scientists, psychologists as well as sociologists and communication scientists, giving us a comprehensive overview of how to improve the quality of life of people in the campus. Hopefully, the model will also be a good tool for other campuses to understand where to focus on development,’ he said. ‘It is also quite unique to pay attention to social relations in the context of businesses and campuses,’ added Uusberg.
The study of the University of Tartu will be completed in three stages. First, a background study on how business campuses affect people’s health and performance will be completed. Secondly, the health behaviour of the people of Ülemiste City and the readiness of companies to contribute to maintaining and promoting the health of employees are studied. In the third phase, a ‘kickathon’ or intensive development day is organized, where solutions are sought to make people’s behaviour healthier.
The study by the University of Tartu, together with the model for campuses, is planned to be completed by next spring.