• From left: Paul Mendelsohn, vice president of government and community relations at the American Institute of Architects; Associate Professor Alexander D'Hooghe, director of the Center for Advanced Urbanism; Robert Ivy, CEO of the American Institute of Architects; Adele Naude Santos, dean of the MIT School of Architecture + Planning; professors Alan Berger and Andrew Scott, co-leaders of the Health and Urbanism Initiative.

    Photo: Judith M. Daniels/SA+P

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Designing healthy cities

A joint initiative of SA+P's new Center for Advanced Urbanism and the American Institute of Architects


SA+P’s new Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) is joining forces with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in a new research collaboration focused on how design can help improve urban health.

The research will support AIA’s efforts through the Clinton Global Initiative’s Decade of Design: Global Urban Solutions Challenge — a ten-year AIA pledge to promote urban design that addresses the interests of public health and the effective use of natural, economic and human resources.

Through that initiative, the AIA is working with organizations to effect meaningful change through research, community participation, design frameworks and active implementation of innovative solutions.

The collaborative effort is based on the premise that massive urbanization can affect human and environmental health in uniquely negative ways, many of which can be addressed through the realm of design.

Some of the great health challenges facing the world in the next century and beyond — including the prevalence of obesity, asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression, among others — are increasing at an alarming rate and are frequently linked to physical design and urban environmental factors.

Through joint research, prototypes and demonstration projects, CAU and AIA will develop guidelines and design solutions that support human and environmental health in and around cities.

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Topics: Architecture, Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU), Health, Urban studies and planning

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