I love proactive healthcare, or, if you will, proactive health. New York City Department of Design + Construction:
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, architects and urban reformers helped to defeat infectious diseases, such as cholera and tuberculosis, by improving design of buildings, streets, neighborhoods, clean water systems and parks. In the 21st century, designers can again play a crucial role in combating the most rapidly growing public health epidemics of our time: obesity and its impact on related chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Today, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet are second only to tobacco use as the main causes of premature death in the United States. A growing body of research suggests that evidence-based architectural and urban design strategies can increase regular physical activity and healthy eating.
It’s going to be interesting to see how health provider partners in communities come together to promote community health in the next decade. I am an advocate for hospitals stepping beyond their traditional model of “the patient presents with a pressing need and so we fix it” to “the data show this could be a pressing health concern for our community’s citizens so let’s partner with other community-oriented groups and address issues proactively.” The Active Design Guidelines can help do that.
Medicine and public health, both aiming for the same outcome, have long worked in a limited partnership. Further bringing these two worlds together will only improve our health.