12 March 2010

Good Foundations - Being Well Through Building Well

Reposted in full from the nef newsletter, March 2010

'The Centre for Well-being at nef recently launched the findings of its Building Well-being project at the Building Centre, London, to an audience of planners, architects, engineers and developers.

Funded by the Happold Trust, the research focuses on how we can incorporate a broader definition of value that properly takes into account the drivers of people’s well-being into the way we plan, design and develop our neighbourhoods.

A new report, Good Foundations, proposes that our measure of success should be neighbourhoods that promote two key outcomes:
  • place Happiness: the personal, social and economic well-being of inhabitants
  • place Sustainability: which arises from minimising the environmental impact throughout both the construction process and lifetime of a building or place.
The aim of Good Foundations is to stimulate the beginnings of a cultural shift in the built environment sector. Recognition in the sector of the interdependence of well-being and sustainability is critical, not least because the built environment influences all of us when it comes to the choices and decisions we make on a day-to-day basis.

From nef website:

'This report offers new insights into the connection between people’s well-being – how people experience their lives – and the built environment which surrounds them, and to consider how better account could be given to these linkages through policy development and professional practice. More particularly, it considers why a focus on what ought to be shared outcomes – creating places and spaces where people can enjoy a good life now and in the future – is often abandoned in the face of pursuing short-term financial returns on investment.

This report is targeted at those involved in the day-to-day creation of urban neighbourhoods and places – master planners, designers, developers, architects, engineers – as well as at local authorities and their partners who play a strategic leadership role with regard to setting the vision and frameworks which guide local action. Our approach has been to use research findings exploring the links between the built environment, regeneration and renewal activity, and people’s well-being, to inform practical suggestions for approaching development projects in a different way. The aim has not been to provide definitive solutions, but to stimulate new thinking and open up debate.'

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