Design and Health Initiative

The AIA (American Institute of Architects) recently released two resources around their design and health initiative: the AIA Design and Health Research Consortium initiative and the document Design & Health Topics.

AIA Design and Health Research Consortium

The AIA Foundation, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is establishing the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium to advance revolutionary, university-led research in the area of design and health. The consortium will be comprised of teams of experts in architecture and public health.

For more information and to join the consortium (submissions Due October 15th), click here.

AIA Design & Health Topics

Design & Health Topics is a document developed by the AIA's Design and Health Leadership Group, made up of nationally recognized public health officials, planners and architects in the field, to describe the scope of the architect’s role in design and health. This document outlines a framework for enhancing the health and well-being of all populations through built environment design and policy.

The World Health Organization constitution (1946) defined health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Well-being includes social connectedness, spiritual fulfillment, life satisfaction, and happiness. These conditions depend in part upon health, and in turn contribute to health.

The built environment has an important impact on health and well-being. However, these links to health—compounded by unique cultural, demographic and geographic considerations—often extend beyond the workaday practices and vocabularies of design professionals.

The Design and Health Leadership Group recommends six evidence-based approaches to health that architects can control through design practices and policies: environmental quality, natural systems, physical activity, safety, sensory environments, and social connectedness. These approaches suggest a new minimum standard of conscientiousness as practicing architects, educators, and interns consider the implications on health outcomes.  (Source: AIA Design & Health)

To download the document, click here.