Setting the context: Designing healthy communities

Submitted by digital on Tue, 10/21/2014 - 15:25
{"version":"0.3.0","atoms":[],"cards":[],"markups":[],"sections":[[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The built environment is an influential driver of both health and disease. Mounting evidence points to the potential for design to play a more active role in supporting healthy outcomes and reducing exposure to conditions that can lead to poor ones, even if it is difficult to trace a direct line between a single design feature and a specific outcome."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"This is particularly true for efforts to reduce the burden of chronic disease and enhance community resilience to climate change, writes Adele Houghton, AIA, MPH, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, ND. Green building programs like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and sustainable land use policies can be tools to advance this effort, because many green strategies sit at the intersection of health and efficiency. Design sets the context for many pressing health concerns, including climate change. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"The payoff can be substantial, Houghton writes in her 2014 study. The number of natural disasters causing at least $1 billion in damage is increasing at an average rate of 5 percent per year\u2014and these estimates only include losses due to direct impact on property, other assets and infrastructure. When direct health costs are factored in, the economic burden associated with these events is much higher. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"Modifying the built environment to prepare for the anticipated changes associated with climate change can yield substantial results, along the lines of a $15 return on each dollar of investment, according to the study."]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"With access to the appropriate tools and data, we as architects are ideally positioned to identify the localized health needs of a specific project site and modify the design accordingly. For, while zoning regulations and master plans for land use and development can promote healthy choices, it is ultimately up to developers and their project teams whether to incorporate specific design strategies into individual projects. "]]],[1,"p",[[0,[],0,"This resource was submitted in conjunction with a national professional conference, The Value of Design: Design & Health, held in Washington, D.C., April 22\u201324 2014. "]]]]}
Read how zoning regulations and building codes can make communities more resilient against climate change and deliver health benefits to residents.
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A new role for green building design
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