Author: Tunde Agoro, Senior Associate, Sustainability
Designing for complete wellbeing.
According to the World Health Organisation: “health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Our buildings must support the total person – our complete wellbeing.
When designing sustainable and people-centred buildings it’s therefore vital that we look beyond factors that impact on just our physical wellbeing.
This means carefully considering physical aspects, such as indoor and outdoor air quality, but also the myriad of other factors that play equally fundamental parts.
These design considerations span access to daylight, water quality, thermal comfort, acoustic performance of spaces, agile work settings, communal environments, and user journeys, etc – all are aspects of a building that impact on our mental and social wellbeing just as much as our physical.
Embracing a holistic approach.
Without a doubt, any new or universal metric for defining/benchmarking what a sustainable building design could look like must at least cover all three aspects of wellbeing: physical, mental, and social.
The need to consider physical, mental, and social health is stronger than ever given the shift of priority towards wellbeing across all levels in our industry.
Reductive strategies and approaches with regards to building design and tackling environmental sustainability have only taken us so far. We must now embrace a more holistic approach if we’re to drive natural, human, social, physical, and economic capital; that is, securing and towing a sustainable trajectory.
The reasoning is there – “healthy is the new wealthy”.