Joint Research Initiative Centers on Design as a Catalyst for Improving Health of Communities; Builds on AIA “Decade of Design” CGI Commitment
New York, N.Y. – February 20, 2013 – To address the urgent need for solutions to ongoing urban challenges, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Center for Advanced Urbanism today announced a new research collaboration focused on how design can improve the health of urban communities. The collaboration supports AIA efforts through the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), Decade of Design. The announcement came at the start of the CGI Winter Meeting.
The MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism (CAU) figures prominently in the search for better models of urban growth. Its expertise will center on articulating methods and projects that integrate architecture, landscape, ecology, transportation engineering, politics and political philosophy, technology, and real estate on scales that range from complex regional systems to local communities and neighborhoods.
“The MIT Center for Advance Urbanism’s commitment brings immediate focus, energy, and structure to our decade-long effort,” said AIA Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA. “With the intellectual resources and recognition that the center brings, we can tap the tremendous talent of our profession to address these public health challenges.”
“If you look at the issue of urbanism from the social point of view or the economic point of view, or if you 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 Adèle 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.”
More than half of the world’s inhabitants live in urban areas, and this is projected to grow to 70 percent by 2050. Massive urbanization can negatively affect human and environmental health in unique ways, and many of those effects can be addressed through the realm of design. Some of the great health challenges over the next century, including the prevalence of obesity, asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression, among others, are both increasing at an alarming rate and frequently linked to physical design and urban environmental factors.
Through research, prototypes and demonstration projects, MIT and AIA will jointly investigate and document correlations between the built environment and health, and develop evidence-based guidelines and design solutions that support human and environmental health in and around cities. The project will incorporate broadly interdisciplinary perspectives (architecture, urban planning, finance, medicine, urban health, technology, building science, transportation, among others) through three phases:
- Research and development of evidence-based guidelines, starting Spring 2013;
- Working with a particular city, including municipal officials and community stakeholders, to design, test and prototype solutions that are specific to that city but applicable to others, in the US and globally.
- Putting demonstration projects in place.
This project will have collaboration as its major focus, with research results and learning shared online and in print at conferences and workshops, in person and virtually.
In addition to funding provided by the AIA and MIT, additional support will be sought from private and public sector sources.
About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which have improved the lives of over 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at more than $73.1 billion.
About the MIT, Center for Advanced Urbanism
Established in 2012, the MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism’s objective is to become the world’s pre-eminent cultural center about the design of metropolitan environments, by articulating methods and projects to integrate separate disciplinary agendas in architecture, landscape, ecology, transportation engineering, politics and political philosophy, technology and real estate through a most eloquent design culture on scales ranging from the complex infrastructural intersection, to that of a neighborhood, on to the scale of an entire regional system.
Contact: John Schneidawind