The Environmental Design Research The Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) invites practitioners, researchers, and educators to submit their proposals and join the 53rd annual conference on the theme Health in All Design. The conference will focus on the role of the built environment in promoting health, equity, sustainability and resilience as we move beyond the pandemic.
As we experience a global pandemic, it has become imperative that environmental designers and researchers consider health – a state of complete physical, social and mental wellbeing over time – as a critical goal for all design projects. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the built environment in promoting safe and healthy lifestyles by providing access to outdoors and green spaces for physical activity good air quality and building layouts that support hygienic practices indoors; and ergonomic design that promotes wellness in workplaces. The pandemic has also highlighted stark inequalities – black, indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC) communities have been disproportionately impacted in terms of mortality, illness and unemployment. Providing access to safe and affordable housing, healthcare and health-promoting resources has never been more critical for these communities. Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity, including transportation, building construction, and operation, contribute to climate change, and the destruction of ecosystems. Designs should not only improve individual and community health, but also help preserve planetary health. Inclusive of sustainability, cities should help nurture diverse environments, cultures, and economies locally and globally. Design should also support resiliency so communities can anticipate and recover from the unknown challenges that lie ahead. This is needed now more than ever before.
EDRA53 will take place in Greenville, South Carolina, a prime example of our proposed theme: Health in all Design. Forty years ago, downtown Greenville, SC, was almost completely derelict. Today Greenville is thriving in part because of a series of successful public-private partnership efforts. The decades-long process of revitalization—including extensive participation by Clemson University and the Clemson City and Regional Planning Program—yielded the addition of flagship developments such as an attractive performing arts center, a riverfront revitalization which turned a toxic dumping ground into an inviting public park replete with waterfall and mixed-use development, and a minor league ballpark which is a miniature replica of Boston’s Fenway Park. Today, Greenville often appears on “best downtown” lists, is the subject of frequent media coverage, and hosts political delegations from cities across the nation who come to see the results of the Greenville miracle and learn lessons that can be applied to their communities.
How will the design of physical environments change in the future to address the challenges highlighted by the pandemic? Do we need to rethink the design of environments to prevent the social isolation experienced by the elderly and children during the pandemic? What strategies need to be implemented to support communication and collaborations as workplaces become more virtual? What role do natural and built environments play in supporting mental health? How should cities be designed to promote access to health promoting resources among disadvantaged communities?
This conference invites papers that focus on the theories, research methods, histories, practices, and design solutions related to promoting health, equity, sustainability and resilience through the design of the natural and built environment. Read more in our Call for Proposals.