Podcast: Creating technology that preserves our health, well-being, and privacy

In this conversation between Dr. Peter Ondish, research scientist at the Center for Social and Behavioral Science, and Professor Bill Sullivan, the Director of Rokwire and the Smart, Healthy Communities Initiative, we explore the connection between healthy outdoor environments and smart, healthy communities. Learn why Sullivan, a professor of Landscape Architecture, is shifting his interests to mobile technology to help create supportive, healthy spaces and communities. 

Sullivan’s landscape architecture research focuses on how the places we inhabit, especially outdoor spaces, impact our health and wellbeing. Great outdoor spaces can energize us, help us recover from attention fatigue, and relieve stress. As Director of the Smart, Healthy Communities Initiative, he is broadening his research interests from outdoor spaces to communities. How can the communities we inhabit be more supportive and enhance our health and wellbeing? And how can technology be mobilized to foster these supportive communities? 

At first, Sullivan seems like an unlikely choice to lead the Initiative, which focuses on mobile devices. But campus leadership wasn’t looking for a computer engineer to lead the project. They wanted someone who could lead an interdisciplinary team, who could energize the entire campus, clearly communicate the project’s goals, and keep Rokwire grounded in what mattered: improving the health and well being of communities.

In this podcast, Sullivan and Ondish discuss how the Smart, Healthy Community Initiative integrates multiple resources onto one intuitive platform to assist in promoting health, success, and engagement in the community. They are working with university researchers to study individual behaviors to understand needs and achieve goals. The digital platform they are developing protects personal privacy while bringing ideas together to enhance our well being.  

One of their ongoing collaborative projects is to develop a smartphone app that helps to mitigate violence in the community. See post: Can communities use smartphones to reduce violence?

This podcast is produced by the Center for Social and Behavioral Science (CSBS) at the University of Illinois. CSBS works to support researchers in our community to address challenges in modern society such as poverty and the impact of the digital revolution on our social and behavioral health. Dr. Peter Ondish, the host of the podcast, is a CSBS research scientist.