Many of the drivers for climate change are caused by human behaviour, particularly the buildings and cities we live in. Yet solutions to climate change are often too focused on environmental issues that sideline human concerns. Most illnesses that society faces today globally are caused by lifestyle choices - and they are also causing climate change. We need to address both of these issues: by integrating human and environmental concerns simultaneously. Health is a new perspective through which to frame such an integrated approach. The World Health Organization defines health as the: “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. Human health requires not just thinking about an individual in isolation, but the context in which they live, work and socialize. The context for the majority of the world’s population are buildings and cities. As we now spend 90% of our time indoors, it is these environments where we might achieve our biggest returns. The research proposes a new health-based approach to tackling climate change that places human health at the centre of sustainable cities. The health paradigm is moving away from a medical model towards one that unites healthy lifestyles and sustainable environments. This is more than just the reduction of pollutants or hazardous materials, but towards ‘health plus’ - the design, construction and inhabitation of architecture and cities that facilitates healthy sustainable lifestyles.
Rice, L. (2017, September). Healthy cities: Integrating healthy lifestyles and sustainable environments. Presented at Sixth International Conference on Climate Change Adaptation