Japanese forest bathing PopUP comes to city centre

Staff and students from the University’s Department of Geography & Planning are providing their support to a PopUP Forest, located in the city centre, which aims to demonstrate the power of nature on our health.

The PopUP Forest is inspired by Japanese forest bathing ideas – Shinrin-yoku – which were developed during the 1980s and are now a cornerstone of preventative health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

Located in Williamson Square, the PopUP Forest has been specifically designed to recreate the tranquillity of a forest in a busy urban environment. It provides a peaceful space to allow people in the city centre to take time out of their busy lives, relax and get a temporary boost to their sense of well-being.

Masters and postgraduate research students from are part of the team supporting the PopUP Forest and are on hand to answer questions about the project and discuss the benefits of urban greening with visitors.

Dr Sarah Clement, Lecturer in Environmental Planning and Management and principal investigator for Urban GreenUP, said: “I urge people to come down to Williamson Square and take a ten minute break from their busy lives to immerse themselves in the forest pod. It will serve as a reminder of not only the stress-reducing benefits of being in nature, but also to highlight how making our cities greener can improve our health.

“I also hope this will create more public awareness about the need to integrate more trees and other green space throughout our cities, not just for the environment but for people, too.”

Clare Olver of Mersey Forest said: “We are trying to recreate the tranquillity of a forest for the busy urban environment. Each day it seems that there are more reports and studies to show how being close to nature and being in trees and woodlands in particular is good for own wellbeing. This is a chance to immerse in a forest, in the busy city centre for 5 minutes, take a breath and gather thoughts for the day ahead.”

The PopUP Forest was officially opened at 12:30pm on Wednesday 26 June by Sir William Worsley, the UK Government’s Tree Champion. It runs until 6pm on Thursday 27 June 2019.

The project is a celebration of the Mersey Forest’s 25 year anniversary and the Year of the Environment. It forms part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Urban GreenUP Project which is testing the effect of how urban greening can help resolving a wide range of urban challenges, including air pollution, biodiversity loss, climate change, human health and well-being.

Built by the Royal Court set-building team, the pop up was designed by BCA Landscape for the Mersey Forest the project in conjunction with Liverpool City Council and The Liverpool BID Company.