The Building Healthy Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment, released in late February, was featured in a ULI Member Webinar that also included a discussion on leading health-promoting projects.
- Rachel MacCleery, Senior Vice President, Urban Land Institute
- Clare De Briere, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, The Ratkovich Company
- Susan Powers, Cofounder and President, Urban Ventures LLC
Frank provided an overview of how health is impacted by the way that our buildings and cities are designed, noting that physical inactivity is now the leading cause of death in the world. Frank also noted “When we talk about health care and health care costs we are talking in the trillions of dollars worldwide. This impacts everybody and therefore it’s something that all of us should look to address in our professional lives.”
MacCleery presented ULI’s newly released Building Healthy Places Toolkit, which is targeted to developers, owners, property managers, designers, investors, and others involved in real estate decision making. MacCleery mentioned that these professionals can “consider health at every stage of real estate development, from design to construction. There are many opportunities to integrate health promoting practices throughout.”
To showcase putting the toolkit’s 21 recommendations into practice, De Briere and Powers presented a set of development projects in southern California and Denver:
- The Hercules Campus, an office park in Playa Vista, California;
- The Alhambra, an urban community in Alhambra, California;
- The Bloc, a mixed-use destination development in downtown Los Angeles;
- Mariposa, a mixed-income, mixed-use, transit-oriented redevelopment project in Denver;
- and Aria, a new community on the site of a former convent in Denver.
“If you think about the urban environment,” said De Briere, “it already has many [health promoting] amenities there. It has a focus on transportation, it’s generally already mixed use, and so [if you are developing projects in urban areas] you’re already starting with a head start.” The Ratkovich Company is producing developments that are integrating the concept of building healthy places for the tenants and for the communities they are in.
The development process for Aria has taken cues from successes at Mariposa, which has not only improved the physical and social environment for residents, health outcomes from these improvements are also being measured. Said Powers, “We’re finding that people are willing to pay more for the market rate units and are really interested in being part of the co-housing community, because it’s part of a story that is larger than themselves, and that cares about their health as well as the health of the neighborhood they are in.”
The Colorado Health Foundation, a supporter of the toolkit and the Building Healthy Places Initiative, is also a supporter of Mariposa and Aria.
To learn more about the toolkit and these projects, watch the full webinar.