Designing for Health & Wellbeing

As part of World Green Building Week 2015, Greengage hosted an event entitled ‘Designing for Health & Wellbeing’.

The event was well-attended by industry peers from a variety of backgrounds and stimulated good debate on the subject.

WGBW Abena Poku-Awuah

The first speaker, Abena Poku-Awuah, Sustainability Manager, Family Mosaic talked about the steps they have taken to increase the health and wellbeing for their residents including a Greening Communities Project where they have developed areas of communal land. Abena also talked about how to improve office space for their staff.

WGBW photo Morgan TaylorMorgan Taylor, Green Infrastructure and Biodiversity Consultant, Greengage presented on the importance of green infrastructure and benefits of biodiversity – through the maintenance of ecosystems and the tangible benefits to our health. He is also talked about the moves to greening cities which will increase the biodiversity value of the urban form.

wgbw photo Glyn TullyGlyn Tully, Urban Design Manager, Levitt Bernstein talked about the Active by Design work which promotes greater levels of daily physical activity in buildings and public spaces as well as increasing access to healthy and nutritious food. He used various examples of developments in London where the design emphasis has been put on providing gardens, pedestrian priority, promoting activity – by creating space to walk, cycle and play for differing age groups.

wgbw photo Nicola OsbornNicola Osborn, Design Director, MoreySmith talked about how the projects she has been involved in which were designed with health & wellbeing in mind. She presented on the design of Argent workspace in King’s Cross, Coca-Cola HQ in London and British Land HQ in London. Some of the key design initiatives to improve health & wellbeing in these spaces were: using lots of natural light, flexible workspaces, open but also ability for privacy where needed, intuitive wayfinding, smart technology and use of outdoor space.

wgbw photo Kerri-Emma DobsonKerri-Emma Dobson, Socio-Economic Consultant, Greengage explored the ways of how we measure health and wellbeing and how important it is to do so. Health & wellbeing measurement can help us to understand how it is impacted by the built environment, and recognise how people interact with this environment; enable projects and developments to respond to health & wellbeing needs & create spaces that positively influence people’s lives and provide demonstrable evidence that will validate the benefits of health & wellbeing in design. Kerri-Emma talked about the different types of measurement including socio-economic assessments, health impact assessments and Social Return on Investment (SROI) analysis.

A good level of discussion after the presentations demonstrated the attendee interest in the topic. The benefits of designing for health and wellbeing are obvious and there is an increasing need to do so. It is also important to measure the impacts which in turn will inform future design.

If you have any queries on designing for health and wellbeing, please contact Kerri-Emma Dobson.