Guest post by Alina Schnake-Mahl
ULI UK hosted a Building Healthy Places webinar last week. The webinar, entitled Building Healthy Places: The Next Wave, was supported by the ULI Building Healthy Places (BHP) Initiative and moderated by David Hutchings, Head of EMEA Investment Strategy for Cushman & Wakefield.
- Rachel MacCleery, Senior Vice President for Content, ULI (USA)
- James Parkinson, Policy Officer, Building Futures, Royal Institute of British Architects (UK)
- Bert Gregory, Chairman and CEO, Mithun Architects (USA)
- Kaela Fenn-Smith, Head of Commercial, Land Securities (UK)
James Parkinson reviewed recent work by the Royal Institute of British Architects focused on connections between health and the built environment, including two reports: City Health Check, which looks at how disparities in community design contribute to health inequalities in UK cities, and Building Futures, which examines how ageing will impact the cities of future. “The design of our cities [needs to] support healthy active choices when going about our day to day lives,” said Parkinson.
Bert Gregory, who serves on the ULI Building Healthy Places Advisory Committee, described two innovative mixed-use mixed-income housing communities, Mariposa in Colorado and High Point in Seattle, both of which were created to address critical health needs. High Point implemented a variety of building strategies to reduce asthma triggers among residents, effectively slashing high-risk emergency room visits for symptoms. Mariposa is working to promote the health of residents via features including a café, a shared bike station, active staircases, and a community garden, and programs including job training, nutrition classes and more. Health Impact Assessment and health assessment methodologies have been employed to track outcomes.
Gregory made a strong case for focusing on health for all. “As we talk about health we have to keep in mind that equity, income and health are linked very strongly,” he said. “And so communities that don’t have as strong an income are less healthy. So we have to think about that in broad terms as a society, and also as designers.”
Kaela Fenn-Smith described Land Securities’ perspective, which she said is oriented toward helping tenants and prospective tenants win the “war for talent” which rages in competitive environments like London and elsewhere. Land Securities developed “ten thoughtful facts” or ideas for enhancing occupants’ well-being and productivity, including facilities for cyclists, open space, and strategies to enhance creativity and productivity, including fresh air and high ceilings.