The Mission of the Center
The Center for Design and Health pursues cross-disciplinary research to aid the design and planning of effective environments for human health and well being. The work of the Center focuses on a variety of health issues, including the design and planning of patient-centered medical facilities, housing, neighborhoods, communities, cities, and regions.
The Present Challenge
The design of effective, just, and economically feasible environments for human health is one of the most urgent needs of the 21st century on a global scale. An aging population, environmental pollution, rapid urbanization, increased poverty, the rising cost of medical care, the need for preventive medicine, and new developments in social and medical science have created a host of design challenges and opportunities. To address these, design professionals, planners, and those who collaborate with them must be equipped with knowledge based on clearly proven facts regarding the mutual relationship of design, policy planning, and health. While the Center’s research efforts focus primarily on the tasks confronting professional planners and designers, the body of knowledge produced is relevant to the concerns of administrators of medical facilities, medical and nursing schools, schools of public health, public officials, and citizen advocates concerned with creating, sustaining, and supporting healthy environments.
Goals of the Center
The Center is best understood as operating on a decentralized model, activating and empowering faculty and community collaborators who come together (loosely) around the “health and design” banner. The specific research topics and subject areas emerge from bottom-up, applying a health and design lens to the work already being done by our faculty.
A key role for the Center will be to serve as a “catalyst,” leveraging small amounts of seed funding or start-up funds to help support new projects and research, and to bring new visibility and attention to work already underway. We will look for larger grants and funding, but we will not wait for this to arrive before beginning in earnest to reach out, to collaborate, to support new research and design projects. Much of what we will do (at least in the first several years) will be to leverage already existing, and relatively small resources, to advance the health and design agenda on Grounds.
Membership and Organization of the Center
The Center is based in the School of Architecture, and many of its core members are the School’s faculty members, alumni, and emeritus faculty. Students will participate as well, to prepare themselves for careers in health-related design and planning. We also engage faculty from other parts of the University who have expertise in physical, emotional, or community health, and seek collaborative research with them. We direct our efforts especially to the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, the Departments of Psychology, Anthropology, and Sociology, and the School of Engineering. In addition, we pursue partnerships with professionals in design and planning firms working on health-related projects as well as faculty in other universities.
Sources of Funding
Individual members of the Center are responsible for securing funding for research projects of their own choosing. The center works to foster synergistic relationships and grant proposals through its activities, including lectures and roundtables where ideas are vetted, as well as a web-page that makes it easy for those with complementary interests to find each other. Research projects are funded by University grants, state and federal agencies, foundations, corporations, and private individuals.
Outreach to a Wide Range of Constituencies
The audience for the Center’s research ranges from professionals to lay persons, depending on the nature and purpose of specific research agendas. A wide range of projects includes such things as symposia, published case studies, rigorous cross-disciplinary investigations, as well as a wide range of additional research activities. The Center’s web site provides information on the Center’s research activities.
The Center and the Mission of the School of Architecture
The cross-disciplinary Center for Design and Health cooperates with and complements the various research labs, centers, and studios of the School of Architecture to advance the School’s mission to address the most significant and urgent design and planning issues of the 21st century.