What’s salutogenesis got to do with it?

The traditional goal of healthcare designers has been to build safe environments that promote healing. These conversations have placed emphasis on familiar factors such as natural light, views of nature and improved wayfinding to ease the patient’s stay. But is there room to proactively improve health? Healthcare Design reports:

As healthcare designers, our goal has traditionally been to “do no harm” by creating safe environments that promote healing. Over the past few years, though, some theorists have framed a new discussion, using such words as “regenerative space” or “salutogenic design” to describe environments that promote health.

Rooted in the term “salutogenesis,” salutogenics or regenerative design focus on factors that support human health and well-being rather than the factors that contribute to disease. Think, for example, about a space that encourages only sitting. A sedentary lifestyle is linked to multiple health ailments. So why not design a space that encourages physical activity? Think about sites that are accessible by mass transit and biking to encourage exercise, and walking paths to allow staff and family to take active breaks. To ensure quality of life for all ages, design spaces for all ages and abilities. A 2013 Urban Land Institute publication, “Ten Principles for Building Healthy Places,” provides guidelines to adhere to when supporting this model of proactive design. From wayfinding paths to the proposed site of your facility, you may be surprised to learn what proactive factors you can control.

Read all ten principles at Healthcare Design.