As the United States addresses burgeoning health expen- ditures in upwards of $2.7 trillion (almost 20 percent of GDP), design solutions for the built environment that aim to address the leading chronic diseases in this country are
timely and critical.
Our built environment can shape our habits and choices, regulate our
sleep-wake cycle, drive us toward healthy and unhealthy choices, and
passively influence our health through the quality of our surroundings. With
health and wellness expected to have a higher influence on design and
construction decisions, here are several issues that today’s designers need
Sedentary lifestyles greatly contribute to reduced physical activity throughout
the day due to prolonged sitting at work, in cars, and at home with electronics.
Workplace furniture solutions should include free address workstations,
activity-based work environments, sit-stand desks, collaborative open
staircases, and urban locations that encourage movement throughout
the day, every day.
One of the most common building occupant complaints is thermal comfort,
which encompasses not only temperature but also humidity, air movement,
and individual factors such as metabolism and clothing.
According to a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate
Change, environments that were originally calibrated based on the metabolic
rates of men are causing women to endure uncomfortable work conditions
that contribute to ambient stressors. Design solutions include empowering
the user to control their personal environment, allowing alternative personalized heating and cooling monitoring and devices, and free address policies
A DESIGNER’S GUIDE
TO PUBLIC HEALTH Pay attention to these four leading issues.
By Whitney Austin Gray, PhD, LEEP AP
Lisa Fulford-Roy, Anthony Guerrero,
AJ Paron-Wildes, and Nadav Malin
discuss "Integration of the Disciplines:
Is Integrative Design the Key to Health
and Wellness Success?"