In our work as placemakers, we must deeply consider health consequences and benefits as they relate to lifestyles and daily habits, especially in urban environments considering the increasingly concentrations of residents, high densities, and contemporary shift to sedentary lifestyles and work habits. Research has proven that positive environments – such as leafy green, places that make us feel safe or without threats, and stimulating mixed uses – all contribute to supporting well-being, both for the individual and the community overall.
Even better – when environments are human scale oriented and place-led to create livable and lovable places, users are more apt to walk, interact with the ground floor and familiar passersby, and experience benefits of physical movement – such as endorphins, calming feelings of stress, physiological mechanisms against disease, and perhaps even connecting with neighbours. Of course, the world is more complicated than a simple fix, that’s why it’s so important to Get to know your community from the very beginning to effectively meet their health and well-being needs.
How do we ensure our work promotes happy and healthy communities? To meet this crucial need, we must incorporate fundamental ingredients to our placemaking process: inclusivity, representation through participatory processes, walkability, human scale, and sustainable models for long term care behind the place.
We would love to hear from you if you have input to share! See the tools below that assist is Creating Happy & Healthy Communities.
Keep in mind that tools can overlap with themes and process steps.