Building to Thrive
Buildings and cities can lift our spirits and help us develop a sense of community and belonging, but far too often they’re a neutral—or even negative—influence on our day-to-day wellbeing.
If our buildings and cities are like physical containers shaped by invisible values, then it’s time to reflect on the shape that they’ve taken over the past few decades and reshape them towards being more equitable, nourishing, and joyful spaces.
Research into how architecture impacts our individual and communal wellbeing, and our sense of physical, emotional, and mental safety, has made major strides in recent decades, and it provides an exciting springboard for compassionately redesigning our buildings to better shelter and support us—mentally as well as physically.
We now know how different aspects of buildings such as lighting, scale, ease of navigation, expressive elements, and cultural fit all make important contributions to inhabitants’ holistic sense of safety and wellbeing. When someone has a safe space to call home, they can recover from life’s challenges better and develop a stronger sense of resilience. And when a building nurtures social connections and a sense of belonging, all of its residents have a better chance to thrive.
This panel will discuss the importance of physical, emotional, and mental safety in our built environment and housing developments. When designing housing, why is the emotional and mental safety of users so rarely considered, especially in contrast with physical safety? And how can addressing these psychological needs help encourage a community to thrive?
We will be discussing these issues at both a local and global scale. Activism begins within local communities, and for that reason we will be offering specific ideas about architectural elements that can contribute to safety and wellbeing.