Selin reflects on presenting at PowerFest18 and her research.
What research have you been doing since joining PowerLab?
I started my PhD study in PowerLab in September 2017. I am working on understanding the influence of urban green spaces on birth weight and potential effect modifiers in this association. The goal of our research is to provide high-quality evidence to guide policymakers to create healthier built environments for improved perinatal health.
What was it like presenting at PowerFest18?
It was a great opportunity to be a participant as an audience and a presenter at PowerFest18 where professionals and practitioners from various disciplines came together to exchange inspiring and informative ideas. It was very exciting to present my research at a large scale event with over 80 participants.
What benefits and experience did you gain from that day’s presentation?
It was an insightful, fascinating and well-structured event. I learned great techniques and tools for presenting effectively. The ideas that were presented were clear and easy to follow and provided valuable information for my research. Moreover, I have got plenty of constructive feedbacks and thought-provoking questions which helped to improve my study and extended my professional network.
What motivated you to get involved with researching Urban Green Spaces and Public Health (career aspirations?)
I earned my bachelor’ degree in urban and regional planning and my master’s degree in Architectural engineering. I was fascinated by the health outcomes of planning policies. Therefore, during my master studies, I started to search for a PhD programme which allows me to proceed with a study that combines my background and my interest. I was very excited and motivated to be part of the study on the urban green spaces and public health which was the main focus of PowerLab where I am currently continuing my PhD study.
Public health and urban green space study interact with so many fields including urban planning, statistics, and environmental sciences. Therefore, there are a wide range of career opportunities in academia, government or private sector which fall under this topic. Working as a health educator, policy officer, data analyst or epidemiologist are only some of the potential roles that one working in this field can take.
Please describe your recent publication.
My recent publication is a review study on the influence of urban green spaces and blue spaces on birth outcomes entitled as “A systematic review and meta-analysis of associations between green and blue spaces and birth outcomes”. The aim of the study was to understand how much and what type of green and blue spaces are needed in cities to promote pregnancy outcomes. Results showed a positive association between green space quantity and foetal growth however the question of how much and what type of green space and blue space was associated with improved birth outcomes remained unclear.
Citation: Akaraci S, Feng X, Suesse T, Jalaludin B, Astell-Burt T. A systematic review and meta-analysis of associations between green and blue spaces and birth outcomes. 2020. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 17, 8; 2949.
Dr Selin Akaraci graduated in late 2021.