ABC for Meaningful Meetings – for reduced loneliness and increased well-being in the local environment
The research project ABC for Meaningful Meetings will explore how physical meeting places can contribute to increased social interaction and strengthening of community, thereby breaking loneliness. The project, which runs over four years, is funded by Vinnova within the framework of the call Social sustainability in the physical environment and is carried out in collaboration between Uppsala University, Linnaeus University, the real estate company Sankt Kors and the non-profit association Gyllene Skräp which works to convey knowledge about sustainable development through experiences and educational tools.
Involuntary loneliness is a societal problem that does not only affect mental health. It also poses an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, stroke and dementia. The opposite, to experience social support and to be part of a community, leads instead to increased well-being and a better ability to handle different types of stress. To have local environment provide openings for social interaction, even outside already established social groups, can be crucial in breaking loneliness.
The project will, among other things, use the evidence-based ABC method for mental health, where ABC stands for Act, Belong, Commit - to do something active, do something together, and to participate in something meaningful. The project investigates how ABC can be built into the physical space, in the local environment, so that the health factors become part of everyday life. This can for example be through art installations where citizens become co-creators, circular markets where a prerequisite for resource sharing through recycling is that people meet, hybrid playgrounds, open workshops, guerrilla farming, networking, storytelling and changing experiences.
The project is being implemented in Ebbepark, a completely new area in Linköping that is being developed into a vibrant inner city environment with housing, companies, schools and various types of community service, which in itself ensures that the project reaches a broad target group. The whole area also functions as a full-scale test bed where organisations can test ideas and innovations in a real environment.
November 2021 – October 2025
Project members at the Department of Informatics and Media: