Briefing Notes and Context
The debate about the extent to which, and in what ways, our behaviour is affected by the built environment is not new.
Whilst we might use emerging technology, visualising techniques and different data streams to extrapolate how behaviour might change in different environments, there is long standing discourse and disagreement as to how we should understand behaviour – or indeed, what kind of behaviour should be encouraged. This is a substantial topic, with a lot of work already in place. This Commission will aim to review and identity the best of the research already published, in addition to unpublished work that has been submitted to the Chairs as part of the evidence-gathering process.
Health and Wellbeing
Whilst a supportive built environment is not enough on its own to ensure physical activity, it does facilitate it. However, an unsupportive built environment is an effective deterrent of physical activity and exacerbates social exclusion (source: TRB. 2005, evidence submitted to the Inquiry).
It is this complex relationship between the built environment and health measures which defines the extent to which building design for healthy living could influence policy in this area. Whilst there is ample evidence on how well designed office environments improve the productivity of its employees, buildings where people live also have a substantial impact on their physical and mental wellbeing. Post-occupancy evaluations of residential buildings are not commonly commissioned by developer clients, and even less so by depleted local authorities.
Questions to Consider at this Evidence Session:
What metrics are used in the field of health and wellbeing to measure the impact of the built environment? Which of these has landed well with policymakers?
What can architects and planners do to improve the evidence base? How can they be empowered to be able to undertake post-occupancy surveys?
What is a good starting point to undertake whole systems redesign of policy responsibility for healthy buildings, as outlined in Marcella Ucci’s submission?
What is the changing role of Public Health England? Is their interest in being a commissioning partner in large planning projects seen to be a success so far?
Carmichael, L. (2015, October). Briefing for design commission evidence session 2: Health and wellbeing. Presented at All Party Parliamentary Design and Innovation Group: Evidence Session