World Architecture Day 2022: How good design promotes health in buildings and cities


A well-designed built environment has far-reaching positive impacts on cities and people's well-being, and that is the emphasis this year as World Architecture Day approaches on Monday, Oct 3.

Created by the International Union of Architects (UIA) in 1985, World Architecture Day is celebrated annually on the first Monday of October parallel to United Nations' World Habitat Day.

The theme of World Architecture Day 2022 is "Architecture for Well-being", which is in line with the designation of 2022 as the UIA Year of Design for Health and the Union's commitment to use evidence-based design to promote health in buildings and cities.

Health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”, and “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition”.

To respond to recent global public health crises including the Covid-19 pandemic and other devastating disasters, the UIA General Assembly in July 2021 declared “2022: UIA Year of Design for Health”.

This commitment urges all UIA member sections to encourage architects and their clients to use evidence-based design to promote health in buildings and cities.

"The UIA will go beyond the role of architecture in making our lives better by protecting, developing and restoring health to examine how architects can better contribute to the physical, emotional, environmental, financial and social wellness of humankind, all while having a positive impact on the environment," said UIA president Jose Luis Cortes via email.

"The built environment, left unchecked, can be a major consumer of natural resources and energy, produce large amounts of waste, negatively impact health and exacerbate inequalities. Sustainable architecture works towards reducing the impact of the built environment while improving our quality of life.

"It can, for example, facilitate urban farming, thereby contributing to food security, optimising water management as well as promoting responsible consumption and production," he added.

On Monday (Oct 3) at 8pm (CET 1400), there will be a webinar on Architecture for Well-being featuring architects and experts from around the world. It includes a presentation by Thiago Herick de Sa from the Department of the Social Determinants of Health in WHO, who will discuss what well-being is and the role of architects in promoting it. Cortes will also be speaking at the event.

Other presenters and their topics include Architecture in Service to Society by Pascale Sablan (US), Adjaye Associates architect and Beyond the Built Environment founder; Nicosia City Master Plan by Agni Petridou (Cyprus) and Ali Guralp (Cyprus); Healthy Buildings by Jako Nice (South Africa), Studio Konstruk; The Healing Landscape In Resilient Built Environment by Kongjian Yu (China), founder of Turenscape, ecological urbanist, urban planner and landscape architect; and People-centred Urban Design by Jan Gehl (Denmark), Gehl.

Click here to register for the webinar.

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