Our Work With RECETAS

Explore our partnership with RECETAS, a global project.

Visible Network Labs’ Data Science team used our PARTNER CPRM tool to analyze organizational networks in six cities around the world – to help RECETAS better understand an innovative way of promoting mental health and well-being.

Case Study Executive Summary

RECETAS (Re-imagining Environments for Connection and Engagement: Testing Actions for Social Prescribing in Natural Spaces) is a 5-year, €5 million, grant-funded project initiated by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. RECETAS seeks to better understand how nature-based social prescribing can enhance mental health and well-being, and lessen feelings of isolation and loneliness for city dwellers in six project sites–large urban centers across Europe, South America, and Australia. 

Visible Network Labs is the exclusive United States-based partner to be included in the RECETAS project. Members of our Data Science team utilized our PARTNER CPRM (Community Partner Relationship Management) tool to perform network analysis at each of the six project sites to gain clarity on the relationships and strengths of organizational networks in each city. The team also used PARTNER CPRM to determine if, or how, organizations in each of the six cities are using nature-based social prescribing to improve quality of life and address mental health, well-being and loneliness amongst their residents. Visible Network Labs is proud to be a partner in RECETAS – an innovative, forward-thinking, and international project.

Understanding the Potential of a New Method of Care Through Network Analysis.

RECETAS aims to “analyze, understand and evaluate how nature in the city can promote social interaction, help combat loneliness and improve the mental health and well-being of city dwellers.” The RECETAS consortium consists of 13 entities, including universities, public health agencies, and research tanks, that hail from nine countries: Spain, Ecuador, Finland, France, Czech Republic, Australia, Austria, United Kingdom, and United States. The project is coordinated by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, ISGlobal. Map of RECETAS Sites

Beginning in 2021, RECETAS will run through 2026. Throughout the project, the RECETAS consortium will explore nature-based social prescribing in the six cities using three randomized controlled trials, three observational studies and other methods involving the fields of epidemiology, anthropology, and health economics. The six cities are: Marseille (France), Barcelona (Spain), Prague (Czech Republic), Helsinki (Finland), Cuenca (Ecuador) and Melbourne (Australia).

Throughout the project, RECETAS hopes to generate substantial contributions to research and evidence in regards to how the diverse group of cities are advancing health and well-being using nature-based social prescribing and interventions. The data generated through Visible Network Labs’ PARTNER CPRM tool will be analyzed and interpreted by our Data Science team, to help inform the community building and intervention components of upcoming work packages that are part of the RECETAS research project.

From this research, the project aims to assess the potential of “non-medical, nature-based community referral strategies” to confront loneliness, which can be a significant harbinger of mental health disorders and chronic diseases. Older adults in particular who are experiencing loneliness and its subsequent negative effects have been shown to visit physicians at a substantially higher rate than those who have not reported loneliness. Through the data generated, the project will help to determine whether nature-based community referral strategies can alleviate some of the growing stress that physicians and public health systems have been experiencing as the pandemic and other factors have contributed to the rise of loneliness in many areas across the globe.

PARTNER CPRM: Powerful, Adaptable, Global.

Visible Network Labs utilized its PARTNER CPRM tool and its Data Science team’s expertise to create a survey that maps the networks between organizations in each city that is involved in spaces where nature-based social prescribing might be employed. Visible Network Labs’ Kaley Bachinski managed and supported organizations in each city as they created their bounded list, helping to clarify which types of stakeholders should be involved in the network analysis survey, and how broad or narrow of a net to cast within the city. 

PARTNER CPRMLeaders and managers from sectors throughout the project, known as Work Package Leaders, then came together to review and give feedback on the surveys. This ensured that the surveys from each city were largely the same. The team took care in verifying that cultural contexts and language differences correspond correctly in each city. The survey was translated into: English, (Helsinki – who’s team decided a translation was not necessary, and Melbourne), French (Marseille), Czech (Prague), Catalan (Barcelona), and Spanish (Cuenca and Barcelona). Kaley Bachinski and Dr. Amanda Beacom served as Visible Network Labs’ Work Package Leaders throughout the project.

Each of the organizations involved within the cities designated a representative to answer a survey that included the following questions:

  • Please briefly describe in your own words the work that your organization does to address mental health, well-being, or loneliness. 
  • Which of the following solutions in nature, natural spaces, or activities in natural space does your organization use to address mental health, well-being, and loneliness, if any? 
  • To what extent have nature-based solutions to address mental health, well-being, or loneliness been adopted by people in your city?

The following question is an example of relational questions posed on the survey. Relational questions provide data to help the team analyze and map the organizational network in each city. 

  • Below is a list of organizations that the RECETAS project team has identified as working on solutions in social prescribing, nature, natural spaces, and activities in natural spaces to address mental health, well-being, or loneliness in your city. – From this list, please select everyone with whom you have an established working relationship around addressing mental health, well-being, and loneliness. 

The time period detailed throughout this case study constitutes Work Package Two, in which Visible Network Labs was involved. Work Packages within the project are similar to a Scope of Work agreement. The responses and data garnered in Work Package Two from the use of PARTNER CPRM and analyzed by the Data Science team will assist future Work Packages (of which there are several) in the project on how to engage with stakeholders and inform upcoming clinical trials.

Garnering Insights from Network Analysis to Advance Forward-Thinking Solutions.

The Data Science team then took insights from the responses to the 23-question survey, and mapped each city’s organizational network in a variety of ways: how they interact and share resources and value, their interconnections, and their perception of each other in regards to power and influence, including information such as the prominence of the organization in the community due to its financial resources, authority, success, and leadership as a change agent.

Response rates for the cities ranged from 54% to 71%, and on average there were 37.7 organizational respondents across the six cities. The larger nodes in the cities’ maps indicate an organization that has many connections, while smaller, peripheral nodes have fewer. When a network has only one or two prominent organizations that facilitate most of the connections, the network could be at risk should the prominent players leave the network. Networks that have several larger organizations with multiple connections are at less risk of this happening. There are no “right or wrong” positions in a network, and while some nodes are smaller and placed on the outskirts of the network map, they may still have substantial connections within, and outside the network. Anonymized network maps of three participant cities can be seen below.

Some of the Data Science team’s recommendations going forward:

  • Discuss the characteristics of the overall network with network members and make sense of the network maps together. 
  • Consider whether changes in the nature of the network relationships would improve collaboration or increase impact.
  • Use the process outcomes in this report to track, demonstrate, and celebrate progress toward long term goals.
Network Maps
"Working on the RECETAS Project has been a very rewarding experience. Through PARTNER CPRM, we were able to visualize the networks in each city that are addressing mental health, well-being and loneliness through social prescribing and nature-based activities. I am looking forward to seeing how VNL's role in the project shapes the community building and intervention work of upcoming work packages. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with amazing individuals doing meaningful, and innovative work across the globe."

Working Towards a More Visible Future.

Visible Network Labs is honored, and appreciative of the opportunity to work with our global network of partners in completing research and analysis that will help people live better lives in cities around the world. We could not be more proud of the dedicated efforts of our Data Science team in analyzing, mapping, and creating resources that give valuable and necessary information to the global community. We look forward to future collaboration with RECETAS and continuing our commitment to making invisible networks visible.

Connect With Us!

Curious about working with us? Reach out to our team and we’ll get back to you with more information. We look forward to connecting!

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