The AIA is joining numerous other city agencies in the promotion of healthy communities through intelligent design choices. A new document: Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design is a series of guidelines that offer architects and designers specific methods for the design of buildings and communities that encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Learn more after the break.
The guidelines are two-fold. On the one hand, they address the physical quality of buildings: access to sunlight, indoor air quality, management of waste, energy consumption and clean materials. But among the guidelines are also subtle suggestions that designers can make through the architecture, such as creating environments that encourage walking or taking stairs, that promote social interactions, and that provide amenities for physical activities such as bicycle parking or showers. Some of these suggestions rely upon the clients and the locations of the buildings. But overall it is a step towards creating an awareness around the need to design with a healthy future in mind. A lot of this lays in the hands of the government to not only prescribe, but encourage certain kinds of development, such as providing public transportation, discouraging driving, promoting walking or bicycling, creating space for parks, pedestrian plazas, safe sidewalks and streets, and access to healthy food. This document comes as support for “Decade of Design”, a program that was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative Meeting in New York. According to an interview between AIA CEO Robert Ivy and Kira Gould of Metropolis Magazine, the AIA’s initiative to release this document is an effort to prove the connections between sustainability, design and health. The idea that the health of the community is directly influenced by the architecture and its design has been supported over the years, but data, Ivy says, will help quantify and demonstrate the validity of these arguments. The “Decade of Design” as well as the guidelines are part of a ten-year sustained commitment to fund the research and exploration necessary to collect the data. It is also an addition to the NYC 2010 publication of The Active Design Guidelines, which ArchDaily posted about this summer. It offers a variety of options for architects and planners to develop designs that promote healthy and livable environments. It is available for free download here. Read the full document here. Via Metropolis Magazine