Happier by Design, an interdisciplinary consortium, has generated new research on ‘blue health’ showing the power of urban water settings to improve health and wellbeing. The team won a research competition sponsored by the Van Alen Institute and West Palm Beach Development Agency, entitled Shore to Core (October 2016-March 2017).
The aim of the research was to understand how waterfront cities like West Palm Beach can become healthier, and identify what types of urban design strategies can help increase wellbeing. Specifically, we explored the effect of tactical urban interventions on subjective and physiological indicators of wellbeing.
Our results showed that public space designed to boost feelings of ‘fascination’ and ‘being away’ foster wellbeing. Our findings further indicate that designers should focus individuals’ attention on nature and create spaces that are both comfortable and interactive, including such features as movable seating and shade. The team’s recommendations are being used to aid the design and planning of new civic spaces in West Palm Beach.
You can read the full report here.
Partners: Happy City, The Center for Design & Health, Street Plans Collaborative and Space Syntax.