Happyopolis – Urban health and well-being in the Arab world and Germany

Welcome to the podcast ‘Happyopolis’! 

We invite you to join us in exploring how to make city life healthier, more social, and of course, happier.

In each episode, we feature cities across the Arab region and Germany, which have developed ideas, concepts, and solutions for a happy and healthy city life. These are solutions that are not only worth discovering but also worth sharing with your own community. 

The host, Dr. Louise Lambert, is your guide on this exciting adventure. She will be joined by a diverse array of guests, including urban planners, architects, positive psychologists, public health and sustainability experts, engineers, artists, policy-makers and many more.

Berlin - A hotspot for researching urban stress and healthy cities EPISODE 1

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­The first episode in this series is about buzzing and busy Berlin. And stress: the kind that comes from living in a dense and still growing city. Can we better protect the mental health and well-being of residents by minimizing stress factors? The capital of Germany has become a hotspot in the scientific study of urban stress and healthy cities.

Special guests of the first episode are: 

  • 4:40 Prof. Dr. Mazda Adli, a psychiatrist and professor at the Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Charité – University Medicine Berlin. He is a social stress expert and explains how urban living can contribute to social stress in various ways. And what to do about it. 
  • 22:30 Ulrike Gote, Senator for Higher Education and Research, Health, Long-Term Care and Gender Equality in the Berlin state government from 2021 to 2023. She speaks about the Governmental strategy Berlin Health City 2030/Gesundheitsstadt Berlin 2030.
  • 35:00 AGYA alumnus Prof. Dr. Ahmed Hegazy, a practicing medical doctor and professor in the Department of Gastroenterology, Infectiology and Rheumatology, Charité – University Medicine Berlin. He talks about the difference in disease development between people living in urban and rural areas.

Cairo – Elevating urban mobility and well-being EPISODE 3

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­The third episode is about the vibrant metropolis Cairo, the fastest growing Arab city. It is known for its heavy traffic, noise, and pollution, and yet, Cairo is the place of some very promising initiatives to expand and modernize the public transportation system to make the city more sustainable and livable.

Special guests of the second episode are:

  • 3:56 Houssam Elokda, the operations manager and master planning lead of the Happy Cities Initiatives. He speaks about the parameters of a happy city and how a well-designed public transport can improve city life.
  • 20:19 AGYA alumna Prof. Dr. Maha Nasr, professor at the Department of Pharmaceutics, Ain Shams University, Egypt. She shares her daily driving experiences on Cairo’s city roads.
  • 26:21 Mohammed Hegazy, the director and co-founder of Transport for Cairo. He talks about strategies to improve urban mobility in Cairo and other cities.

You can find the ‘Happyopolis’ podcast on the following platforms:

Kuwait City – Enhancing walkability under extreme temperature conditions EPISODE 2

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­In the second episode, we join you from Kuwait City. Built for the car due to its high temperatures in the summer, pedestrian infrastructure and public transportation has taken a bit of a back seat in this city. This has resulted in very high rates of physical inactivity and obesity. However, the winds of change are blowing, as public health and urban design with a focus on walkability have now taken center stage in the national agenda.

Special guests of the second episode are:

  • 03:00, 21:56 & 28:43 AGYA member Prof. Dr. Mohammed Alkatan, Department of Physical Education & Sports, Public Authority for Applied Education & Training in Kuwait. He talks about the role of physical activity on our mental and emotional states.
  • 09:52 H. E. Sheikha Intisar Al Sabah, Founder of Alnowair. She talks about an interesting initiative to encourage Kuwaitis to spend time outdoors, enjoy public natural spaces, and to move.
  • 17:38 & 33:05 Dr. Saud Al Khaled, College of Architecture, Kuwait University. He provides insights into city design strategies for hot climates.  
  • 25:36 AGYA alumnus Prof. Dr. Ahmad Sakhrieh, Department of Mechanical Engineering, American University of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates. He talks about his project on outdoor thermal comfort in cities under extreme temperature conditions.

AGYA Members in Charge

To address the complexities and challenges of urban life, AGYA alumnus Prof. Dr. Dr. Ahmed N. Hegazy and Prof. Dr. Mohammed Alkatan initiated the research project titled “Health and Happiness. Arab-German Perspective on Living Environments in Larger Cities”. This podcast is an outcome of their collaborative project.

Happyopolis is a podcast by AGYA in cooperation with Charité - University Medicine Berlin and is produced by WE ARE PRODUCERS.

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The Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA) provides this podcast as a public service. The authors/speakers remain solely responsible for the contents and recommendations provided in the podcast and do not reflect positions of AGYA or any of its funding partners.