Moving Health to the Center of the Architecture Mission

Kira Gould speaks with AIA CEO Robert Ivy about a new initiative being led by the Institute to help quantify the relationship between architecture and public health, and demonstrate the value design can bring to affecting a community’s health.

Announced at this year's Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York, the American Institute of Architects' new "Decade of Design" initiative is "a 10 year commitment to develop design and technology solutions for cities addressing public health, sustainability, and resiliency challenges," writes Kira Gould. Focused on funding three areas of innovation at the moment - university research, community planning collaborations, and hackathons - the initiative seeks "to demonstrate the link between building design and the health of people who live or work there."

According to Gould, the first three recipients of research grants were announced recently: "Texas A&M University’s project, Evaluating Health Benefits of Liveable Communities is a toolkit for measuring health impacts, which will include an empirical study of a LEED for Neighborhood Development project in Austin. The University of Arkansas’s Fayetteville 2030: Creating Food City Scenario Plan will study pathways to creating a local food infrastructure amid rapid growth. The University of New Mexico has a pilot program, Establishing Interdisciplinary Health-Architecture Curriculum."

This month, the AIA published a new report in the Local Leaders series titled "Healthier Communities Through Design," which uses several case studies to provide a toolkit for utilizing "architecture to improve public health with policies that promote active living, accessibility, transit options, and better indoor air quality."

Full Story: Architects and the Public Health Imperative

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