The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Center for Advanced Urbanism announced a new collaborative research effort into ways design can improve the health of urban communities. The collaboration helps support the AIA’s efforts toward the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), Decade of Design. Joint research, prototypes, and demonstration projects from AIA and MIT will investigate and document correlations between the built environment and human health in and around cities.
“The MIT Center for Advance Urbanism (CAU) commitment brings immediate focus, energy, and structure to our decade-long effort,” says Robert Ivy, FAIA, chief executive officer, AIA. “With the intellectual resources and recognition that the center brings, we can tap the tremendous talent of our professional to address these public health challenges.”
The project will incorporate a cross section of interdisciplinary perspectives including architecture, finance, medicine, urban health, and transportation, and will be carried out across three phases. Research and development commences this spring, followed by selection of a prototype city where demonstration projects will be put in place.
“If you look at the issue of urbanism from the social point of view or the economic point of view, or ifyou look at it from a health point of view, it’s clear we have to have new theoretical positions and assumptions about how to move forward,” says Adele Naudé Santos, Dean of the School of Architecture + Planning at MIT. “When it comes to urban health, there is no greater issue facing our profession. We look forward to making our collaboration with the AIA a resounding success.”
With more than half of the world’s inhabitants living in urban areas—and that number is expected to grow to 70 percent by 2050—massive urbanization can negatively affect human and environmental health. Some of the great health challenges over the next century, including obesity, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes are linked to physical design and environmental factors.
To learn more visit aia.org