A blueprint for healthier living

Nick Myall
Thursday 19 Apr 2018

The UK-based Design Council has published a report on ‘Healthy Placemaking’ and a film on housing which focus on themes that will be relevant to cities across the globe

The Design Council launched a film in the UK Houses of Parliament on 18.4.18 highlighting the housing challenges faced by young people today in the UK. At the event the Design Council’s report  ‘Healthy placemaking’ was also launched and discussed by UK government officials and other key influencers . The report is focused on healthy placemaking and it examines the barriers identified by people building and designing communities to creating places where people are healthier and happier.

The design of buildings, streets, parks and neighbourhoods can support good physical and mental health, help reduce health inequalities and improve people's wellbeing. Conversely, car-oriented environments and hostile public spaces can contribute to sedentary lifestyles and social isolation, increasing people's risk of disease. The need to move away from planning cities around vehicles and encourage people to walk more were two of the  common themes touched on during the speeches made at  the event.

The film, ‘Living outside the box’ highlights the challenges faced by young people as they take their first steps to securing a place of their own against a backdrop of the ongoing UK housing crisis. The film, which was commissioned by Design Council and made by Film Roundhouse, considers the challenges faced by its three participants, who were also present at the launch to give their own perspective to an audience of professionals from a variety of different backgrounds. Each tells their own story to highlight the challenges they face, and the ingenious methods they incorporated to overcome what is the most basic need for a person – the need for a safe place of shelter.  

Design Council CEO, Sarah Weir OBE gave an introduction to the ‘Healthy placemaking’ report and also spoke about the film saying: “At Design Council, we have been working with Film Roundhouse to explore some of the housing challenges that young people face today. Our film ‘Living outside the box’ follows three young people who take very different approaches to solving their own particular housing challenges. It highlights the lengths young people are going to in order to find themselves the safety and shelter that they, and we all deserve. We hope that through our film, and our healthy placemaking research launched today in Parliament, we will be able to bring about positive change, and influence government to consider the benefits that design brings to the mainstream housing challenges faced by the population each day”.

In attendance, and at the launch of the film were members of government including Ed Vaizey MP, Kevin Brennan MP, Heather Wheeler MP (Minister for Housing and Homelessness), Mark Prisk MP, Lisa Nandy MP and Sadie Morgan, Commissioner, National Infrastructure Commission. The attendance from government officials as well as other key influencers demonstrated a real commitment to overcoming and delivering on a need for a safe, comfortable and healthy place for people the live and call home. 

“I was delighted to be involved in the making of this film, as the issues raised are at the heart of the discussion today for young and old across the country. How do young people achieve a safe, secure and healthy place to live? These are the questions that drive the discussion, and questions I encounter in my work as a film maker each day” said film maker Ravi Lloyd “I hope that the film will drive further discussion across central government, local government and developers to deliver what is an absolute basic human need. It was clear when making the film that the greatest concerns for the people we spoke to were around the lack of access to the housing ladder, building equity, living in a safe environment and affordability of space”. 

The film is available to watch now on the Design Council website, and can be found here 

To find out more about the Design Council’s Healthy Placemaking research and to download a PDF of the report please click here.

World Architecture News also focuses on creating a cleaner, healthy urban environment. WAN's Reclaiming the Streets initiative is looking at the opportunities presented by the advent of autonomous vehicles and an increasing awareness of the health risks from vehicle pollution.   FULL DETAILS HERE   

Nick Myall

News editor

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