In a Design and the City episode - a podcast by reSITE on how to make cities more livable – architect and founder of Doula x Design and co-founder of SHoP Architects Kim Holden discusses how rethinking and redesigning the ways birth is approached can change the outcomes of labor and birth experiences, and improve the qualities of life for both the babies and women giving birth to them. The interview explores how it is crucial to investigate the spaces where generations come into this world, just as we have been planning and building better cities for them to work and live in.
ReSITE - a global non-profit acting to improve the urban environment, launched the second installment of its Design and the City podcast earlier this year, with previous guests including figures such as Thomas Heatherwick, Julia Gamolina, and Chris Precht. The podcast features guests immersed in all aspects of city-making, urban development, architecture, and design, highlighting the challenges and problems our current urban environment is facing and how we can solve them.
Interviewed by ReSITE's Alexandra Siebenthal, Holden shares how she started her career in architecture and how she transitioned away from the award-winning studio into a journey of "doulaship". The architect sheds the light on how we have been going about birth wrongly for so long, and how she is now using her architecture expertise to rethink our relationship with the means and birthplace of new life. Although not typically seen as a design problem, the podcast looks at birth from a design perspective, highlighting how external environments have great impacts on well-being.
Holden's own birth experience mixed with her architecture background led to the creation of Doula x Design, an approach that takes into account "the scale of the individual—anatomically and physiologically—to the scale of the environment". From the form and material of the tools and delivery rooms, to the post-partum hospital environment, her project reminds women around the world that their physical and mental health is designed to give birth, and should be valued and catered to as intricately as possible.