Healthy Urbanism Proposal / Interface Studio Architects

Courtesy of ISA –

The proposal for Healthy Urbanism is a collaboration between a visionary client, a health scientist and ISA – Interface Studio Architects to investigate the potential for health outcomes to influence large-scale neighborhood and building design. The consulting team developed a conceptual tool in order to bring spatial design and health outcomes into communication with one another. “The Matrix” is a key proposal of the work which creates a bridge between health-related research and literature, factors, health impacts, program, and design parameters. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of ISA – Interface Studio Architects

The client provided the consultants a sandbox and a long leash to come up with an approach and “system of thinking”. A series of sites were identified ranging in size from half an acre to six acres. A general bucket of mixed-use programs including food-oriented uses, recreation, art spaces, and affordable housing became ingredients for effective urbanism, as well as components to encourage healthy lifestyles.

Courtesy of ISA – Interface Studio Architects

Unlike the often linear check-list approaches typical of green building scoring systems, the tool was intentionally flexible, but rigorous, so the science of health could help energize design creativity rather than limit it.

Courtesy of ISA – Interface Studio Architects

Some examples of strategies and tactics:

Affordable Housing – designing truly affordable, energy efficient housing saves money that can be spent on fresh food and a gym membership.

Irresistible Loop – a ½ mile log circulation path that encourages residents of a large housing block to take the long way home and burn some calories.

Food Hub – Large footprint food industry, a supermarket and housing can all coexist in a mixed-use, high density development that encourages walking, kids learning about food sources, and storefronts that light up the sidewalk at night with displays of what gets made inside.

Courtesy of ISA – Interface Studio Architects

The Backyard – A site with a subway underneath that can’t be built on becomes an ever-changing food/culture market that sells farm fresh products, hosts concerts and provides a dynamic social space.

Health Pods – Micro storefronts and pocket parks are embedded within a large housing block to make access to health clinics, educational resources and recreational opportunities part of the urban fabric.

Architects: ISA – Interface Studio Architects
Location: Brooklyn, New York,
Consultants: HealthxDesign
Major Funding: State of New York
Project Phase: Concept Design
Area: multiple sites (50,000SF – 350,000SF)
Year: 2012

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Healthy Urbanism Proposal / Interface Studio Architects" 22 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>