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Mental Wellness & Uptown's Coast


Read about each session!

Urban Ecology: Native ecology including wildlife habitat in Uptown’s coastal zone - Read about the event here!

Cycling Uptown: Using bike rides to benefit health, reclaim public space, and improve access to the coast - Read about the event here!

Underutilized Community Spaces: Discover underutilized spaces on Uptown’s lakefront - Read about the event here!

Urban Agriculture:
Farming as infrastructure for human and coastal health - Read about the event here!

Alternative Transit: Transportation infrastructure and how it impacts accessibility of the coast - Read about the event here!

Historic Preservation: Connect past and present through the history of coastal Uptown - Read about the event here!

Eco-Justice: Citizen participation in community security within the coastal zone - Read about the event here!

Green Infrastructure: Building by design to blend structure and nature - Read about the event here!

Mental Wellness & Uptown's Coast


On February 27th, 2018, ICA and the Uptown Coastal Initiative hosted the seventh installment of the Out and About Uptown’s Coast series, Mental Wellness & Uptown’s Coast.


The session started with individual reflections on ways to cultivate mental wellness, focusing the group on the topic for the evening. Melanie Eckner from Uptown Coastal Initiative started the presentations by sharing a historical perspective of Uptown’s coast as a model for people’s health and happiness.


Teresa Horton, Research Associate Professor in the Dept. of Anthropology at Northwestern University, presented on the health benefits of nature and shared research findings about the various health benefits people experience after spending time in nature. While many people understand this concept intuitively, research provides the support needed to have an impact on policymakers and other institutional decision-makers.


Vincent Gomez, Manager of Horticultural Therapy Services at the Chicago Botanic Garden, presented on horticultural therapy and health benefits of therapeutic horticulture. Following his presentation, Vincent led a hands on workshop to plant succulents and arrange cut flowers. For many participants, this was the highlight of the evening! Participants cheerily talked and laughed in small group while enjoying the sights and smells of the fresh flowers, soil, and sand.



Left: Vincent explains the particular environmental needs of succulents.
Right: Matt shows off his beautiful arrangement





About Out and About Uptown's Coast 

Out & About Uptown's Coast partnered with the Uptown Coastal Initiative to raise awareness of Uptown's lakefront and parks through nine experiential, educational sessions that offer attendees rich opportunity for meaningful engagement with the ecology and culture of this Great Lakes coastal community.

The project connected residents, workers, and visitors, and strengthen links between the well-being of the coastal ecosystem and the health and well-being of those who live, work, and visit Uptown’s coast.

Highlighting local expertise and creating a space for diverse attendees to learn about and explore the area together, each session’s unique lens targeted different subjects and circle back to universal accessibility to and stewardship of Uptown’s coast across a spectrum of disciplines.

At the close of Out & About Uptown's Coast, the Uptown Coastal Initiative team created a toolkit highlighting the different approaches taken and lessons learned to help inform future programming as well as participant stewardship and engagement around sustainability in the coast.

For more information about Out and About Uptown's Coast, contact