Heatherwick Studio Launches New Health Street Initiative

With many high streets hollowing out and the National Health Services Association pushed to its limits, Heatherwick Studio is calling for a new kind of health space in metropolitan cities. The Health Street initiative is placed right at the heart of urban communities, reimagining the way we look at well-being and the holistic health of complete localities. Moreover, this radical approach to health creation is based on integrating community-led facilities into the local high streets.

In her proposal, Lisa Finlay, Partner at Heatherwick Studio, presented Health Street as a combination of public health, local business, and social spaces in one familiar environment. Moreover, it is a completely different approach from the normal clinical settings like hospitals or General Practitioner Surgery commonly available. The report claims that the current spatial understandings of health centers are rather discouraging, placing most focus on sickness and not enough attention on wellbeing. At its core, the idea emphasizes that true health is pre-emptive, inspiring the idea of living well. Health Street is an emblem of true convenience and welcoming of communities to co-create and live in one unified space.

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Illustrations of The Health Street. Image Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio

The vision of the initiative was created in collaboration with experts in social care, medicine, real estate, data analytics, public policy, and service design. It supports new initiatives that alleviate social inequalities and integrates Care Systems. The report emphasizes how neighborhoods can profit from a change away from treating sickness to producing health, in a setup that is more suited to practical local needs. 

The Heatherwick Studio believes in the ability of architecture to influence one’s emotions. The Health Street strategy studies spaces that can be approachable, offering a range of holistic support services that are clear to everyone. It is based on community needs rather than market demand, changing the use of the existing neighborhood high streets. Furthermore, the initiative embraces preexisting underused buildings that are practical, and already connected to local transportation.

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Illustrations of The Health Street. Image Courtesy of Heatherwick Studio

It starts by making use of spaces that already exist in town centers that need a fresh start and are really well connected to residential communities. It’s then about building connections between charities, community groups, local businesses, and health services, and providing a whole range of activities that might stretch from arts programmes, cooking classes, music studios and gardening to community diagnostics, dieticians and physio, or just socialising. This is a genuinely holistic approach to your health and well-being. -- Lisa Finlay

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Maggie’s Leeds Centre by Heatherwick Studio. Image © Hufton_Crow

The Heatherwick Studio’s work is centered on district building and problem-solving. With a focus on large-scale projects in megacities, they prioritize positive social impact, working towards designing interesting places that embrace the complexities of cities. They have previously worked around healthcare, designing the Maggie Yorkshire Leeds Center, which provides holistic care to people with cancer. The charity provides practical and emotional support for patients, located in Leeds. More recently, the studio has been commissioned to redesign and transform a central element of the Juneau Avenue Campus in Milwaukee, US. In 2019, The Heatherwick Studio opened The Vessel, a new type of public landmark in New York, a public square for the community.

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Cite: Nour Fakharany. "Heatherwick Studio Launches New Health Street Initiative" 08 Mar 2023. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/997583/heatherwick-studio-launches-new-health-street-initiative> ISSN 0719-8884

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