Urbanism and architecture influence people’s health. Sessions at BAU College of Art and Design Barcelona

Urbanism and architecture influence people’s health. Sessions at BAU College of Art and Design Barcelona.

The oldest city identified is 9,000 years old in present-day Turkey, but the first network of cities is thought to have appeared in Mesopotamia 7,000 years ago. Despite this, most of the activities will continue to be carried out in outdoor spaces until the beginning of the industrial revolution in the middle of the 18th century and with it a gradual shift of human activities towards indoor spaces. Currently, in so-called developed countries, people are considered to spend 90% of their time indoors.

The genus Homo has lived mainly in outer spaces for 2,790,000 years … What is the natural environment of people? We design interior spaces but we must not forget that our body and our metabolism has spent most of its evolution outside: from the point of view of health, the best interior is mirrored in space outdoor.

In the last week of November 2021 we did a series of workshops with the students of the Master in Interior Design at BAU, College of Art and Design Barcelona. The students are professionals in the field of architecture and health and this cycle of workshops has been framed in module 3: Materiality and Conditioning, specifically the part of bioconstruction: healthy spaces (comfort and well-being) and sustainability (energy and space, ecological footprint, recycling, reuse).

Under the title of Architecture and urbanism influence people’s health, it has been wanted to show how urban and architectural decisions are of decisive importance in defining the well-being, comfort and health of the people who inhabit the cities. It has been debated how the concept of health, a healthy city, goes far beyond the notion of physical health to include well-being, inclusiveness, accessibility, empathy between different groups, equitable social relations, etc.

In a first session, have been collected some historical examples of how urban planning and architectural decisions have influenced the air, water and light of our built environments.

A second session described a number of environmental factors that can be influenced by urban planning and architecture to create healthy environments: air, light, bioelectricity, thermal comfort, sound, activity, water, and materials.

The sessions were invigorated with questions and answers in parallel to the workshop with the Menti application.

The aim is to broaden the critical view of the health effects of people who make design decisions and to empower participants to be informed about the action of Making our city healthier. .

These sessions have received a grant in the General Call for Grants 2021 of Barcelona City Council, in the field of Ecology, urbanism and mobility included in the program of Promotion of studies, activities and initiatives to promote urbanism with a view to gender that contributes to building a fair, sustainable, safe, healthy and barrier-free city.