Designing to Impact People’s Health: Are You Prepared ?


Venue: Bella Center - B3 M5-6 
15:15 - 16:30 

Dr. Pentecost will be introducing the subject of “Designing for Health,” as well as introducing the main speaker, Dr. Andrew Dannenberg. With the growing influence of research on design and architectural practice, the impact of design on human health has become a matter of both investigative interest and professional priority.

It is a simple, and yet profound truth, that every project we deliver impacts the health of the people who use it. Dr. Pentecost will frame the basic challenge facing our profession today: Are we adequately trained in, knowledgeable of, and ready for the responsibility of impacting people’s health by our work?

Introduction to Dr. Dannenberg’s presentation:

Architects have long recognized the importance of health, safety, and welfare as part of their mission. Healthcare architecture is only a small part of the work that architects can do in designing buildings and places to promote health. Design that is limited to preventing harm by meeting building codes and standards forfeits the full range of design possibilities that could enhance the health and quality of life of a building’s occupants and visitors. By focusing on the health-promoting aspects of design, architects have the opportunity to contribute to solutions to major societal challenges, to lead change, to improve the quality of life for everyone, and to grow the demand for their services.

Major societal trends for which architects can contribute health-promoting improvements include obesity, housing and social inequities, an aging population, urbanization, nature contact deficit, hazardous chemical exposures, energy poverty, water shortages and excesses, natural disasters, and climate change.

Examples of designs that promote health include creating stairs that encourage physical activity, building attractive affordable housing with fresh air circulation, creating accessible places for persons with disabilities, adding daylighting and views of nature to living and working spaces, avoiding hazardous chemicals in building material specifications, incorporating energy efficiency into homes to conserve resident resources, designing for efficient water use and avoiding floodplains, and creating resilient places that protect people from the impacts of climate change. Architects should consider themselves to be health professionals because their work directly impacts health.

The session is hosted by the UIA Public Health Work Programme.