Design for Healthy Living

At the turn of the 21st century, predominant health problem facing our society has changed from infectious diseases to chronic diseases. Some also called it "the 21st century epidemics", it refers to disorders of energy metabolism. While during the previous centuries innovations and creations has been made to combat infectious diseases, design professionals are coming up with strategies to fight against these diseases caused by inactivity, pollution and over-urbanization. Globally, there are several notable campaigns tasked to do this. The one that received the most attention is the Active Design project in New York City.

Active Design principles can be applied in the field of planning, architecture and interior design. It recommends that adult perform 150 minutes per week and children 60 minutes of physical activities. In highly density and fast phased urban environment, achieving this goal is quite a challenge. Creating walkways, bike lanes, jogging trails and recreational facilities for people to do physical activities are top agenda for modern day societies. For planners and urban designers, the task is to create a healthy and active city. For architects and engineers, the goal is to create buildings and structures that promote healthy lifestyle.

In a recent master plan project for a new towns in China, G|SaaN designers proposed a urban greenway system that will connect all communities with city parks and recreational facilities and amenities. It will encourage inhabitants of all age groups to use the greenway to walk, jog, bike, and entertain. Seasonal routes and actives are designed to coincide with festivities and holidays. Along the greenway system, provisions are also made for businesses to join in and take advantage of health-related commerce and industry. Just like the Active Design movement in NYC, the local government of this project has been a firm supporter of the greenway system and will help implementing it.

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