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Your personalised directory of local happenings.

MA 2023
Socialisation, Health, Community, Connection,

Airea is your personalised directory of local happenings. From new business openings, special discounts for locals, community activities and volunteering opportunities, engaging with your neighbourhood finally feels like it belongs in the 21st century.

While I would love to discuss this project in detail, specifics have been removed due to ongoing IP and patent applications.

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Both the NHS’s Long Term Plan and formal advice from the US Surgeon General rely on moving care out of medical institutions such as hospitals and into communities. Not only have we not done anything to prepare communities for this new role and its responsibilities, but our communities are also getting increasingly weak and fragmented.

We all know the mental health consequences of inadequate levels of socialisation: depression, personality disorders and confusion are just a few. What is less well known are the physical health consequences: 29% increase in chance of stroke, 32% increase in risk of heart disease, 50% increase in chance of developing dementia. Indeed, inadequate levels of socialisation influence our survivability more than being obese, and the health consequences are comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Loneliness & Friendship Epidemic

This makes the fact that we are in a loneliness epidemic and friendship recession even more tragic. According to research by the Office for National Statistics, 49% of Brits are lonely at least some of the time, rising to 56% when looking at respondents aged 30-49. Additionally, 15% of young men today report having no close friends, compared to 3% in the 1990s.

Loneliness costs the UK economy £2.5B per year through the products of:

-      Costs associated to absences due to related sickness.

-      The costs to employers of the associated caring activity by employees.

-      Costs associated to reduction in productivity.

-      Costs related to the increase in voluntary staff turnover.

Our current approaches to tackling this behemoth health issue are limited, and all of them are still a reactive form of care. The financial, health and relationship costs have already been paid.

I have summarised my research into 3 main insights: Soft Loneliness, Parasitic Proxies, and Broken Communities.

Insight 1: Soft Loneliness

  • Admitting to being lonely, even to oneself, is incredibly difficult. There is a large amount of people that are suffering from (what I’ve dubbed as) Soft Loneliness. These are people that are suffering the negative effects of inadequate socialisation, but do not describe themselves as lonely. Those suffering from Soft Loneliness would like to be more social, but feel that their situation is neither unique nor deserving of special attention – it is simply part of being an adult. Consequently, they do not seek help, nor do they make particular effort to engage with the services and activities around them.

  • The reality is that making new friends becomes increasingly difficult as you get older, very difficult, especially for those without kids. This is largely due to the strong stigma around actively trying to meet new people for friendships.


Insight 2: Parasitic Proxies

Parasitic proxies are activities, products or services that give us the illusion of socialisation. These can be social media and the parasocial relationships it encourages, or modern entertainment with its endless stream of content. They satiate our desire for socialisation without nourishing our wellbeing.


Insight 3: Broken Communities

71% of respondents say that the main reason they do not engage with activities within their neighbourhood is that they do not know what is going on or how to get involved. At the same time, local businesses and community activities are having to use social media ads to reach potential customers/users, bringing in the need for new skills and funds.

Theory of Change

If we can break down the logistical barriers to engaging with local activities

Then citizens will be more likely to engage with their local neighbourhood

In order to support the development of healthy communities while decreasing the devastating effects of inadequate socialisation

Introducing airea

Airea is your personalised directory of local happenings. From new business openings, special discounts for locals, community activities and volunteering opportunities, there is now a 21st century way to engage with your local community.


For citizens

  • Everything going on in your local neighbourhood in one convenient place.
  • Personalised view shows you only the events you’re most likely to engage with.

For local businesses

  • A cost-effective way to reach those that are most likely to be repeat customers.
  • Simple to use interface that doesn’t require special social media skills.

Three Stage User Journey

1. Set Up

The set up phase is where users are onboarded, but it is much more than simply account creation. The goals at the end of this phase are to:

  • Help users discover more about their socialisation habits through our Social Type test.
  • Reduce FOMO and choice overload by curating their local sphere to the activities they are most likely to want to engage in.
  • Go through a secure identity check of all our onboarded users.

2. Explore

Once the user has completed their set up, they are brought to their own personalised directory of the activities and events going on around them. Community events and business activities can be added by local businesses, councils, active users and local charities, all following an event approval done by the Airea team.

Examples are:

  • Local businesses can offer free or Groupon-style discounts for the services or special activities.
  • Local charities can offer volunteering opportunities and collection days.
  • Citizens can organise a sports pick up game, or other social activities and gatherings.

3. Attendance

Once it is time for the activity the user has signed up for, they will check-in to the activity by using the Airea QR code or NFC tag, indicating that they have arrived. This allows the organiser to keep track of those that have attended, as well as provide Airea with important data on connections made. Once the activity is over, users can rate their experience and leave a review.

The Long Term

For preventative care to be truly adopted, it needs attribution models – a positive health benefit and/or cost saving needs to be attributed to an action in order to justify investment. We already have basic attribution methods for based on the language (ie. Metrics) of physical health: Step count, body fat %, VO2 max etc. However, we still lack a common language for social health. By leveraging qualitative assessments and quantitative date, Airea is the spearhead in establishing an attribution model that will allow public and private health providers the underlying metrics on which to make informed investment decisions.

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