Can Design for Wellbeing Become the Default?

Photography by Alexander Steam

Photography by Alexander Steam

Design centred on people's health and wellness is becoming increasingly evident around the world. It's just a matter of time before it becomes the new default. The sooner planners and the public get on-board with this movement, the sooner the vision of a healthier and more connected community will become a reality.

In the U.S., Delos, a pioneer of wellness real estate, has been developing smart-healthy building systems by incorporating health and wellness features and technologies to bring benefits of natural outdoor conditions inside. In the residential sector, they recently launched the DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence platform, using their wellness algorithms and technologies to create spaces that enhance wellbeing through design. Their aim is to create environments for their clients that reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and increase efficient use of space.

In Thailand, three organizations (Sansiri, Tokyu Corporation and Samitivej Hospital) have joined to develop the "Wellness Residence," a condominium development designed purposefully to improve their residents' health and wellness, and support them on their journey toward a higher quality of life.

In Australia, Melbourne Square is a residential development designed to promote wellness and social sustainability. Their goal is to create a "mecca of wellness and entertainment" to support the transition from a family home to condominium living, and to cater to all their residents' needs, including social and community life.

In the affordable housing world, Glasgow City Council is planning to build 8,500 affordable homes over the next five years with the principle of promoting health and wellbeing as one of their top goals.

Although these trends suggest design for wellbeing is becoming an increasingly important foundation for planning and building homes around the world, we still see many new developments that do not incorporate this principle. With an understanding of contemporary lifestyles, needs and issues, and with advanced knowledge and technology, architects, builders and engineers can incorporate wellbeing into their design assumptions. To do so has only one outcome: healthy communities, sustainable living, and consequent social and economic benefits.

nora bouz
Wellbeing Design Consultant