Health and Places Initiative


Health and Places Initiative

Gary Adamkiewicz, Assistant Professor, co-Principal Investigator, HSPH
Leire Asensio-Villoria, Lecturer, Design Coordinator, HGSD
Ann Forsyth, Professor, Principal Investigator, HGSD
David Mah, Lecturer, Design Coordinator, HGSD
Peter Rowe, Professor, Neighborhood Case Study Lead, HGSD
John Spengler, Professor, Principal Investigator, HSPH

Who We Are

This project is investigating the scope and possibilities for creating healthier places in the future, with a specific emphasis on China. The first phase of the project (2013-15) brought together experts from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (HGSD) and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) to create a forum for understanding the multiple issues that face cities in light of rapid urbanization and an aging population worldwide. Through the work of dedicated faculty and researchers, the project has developed templates for alternative models of urban development, stressing their impact on health.

What We Do

The project has three main components: Area 1, focused on education, includes courses taken by students in both the design and public health schools; Harvard Extension School courses opened to a limited number of professionals; and a series of  seminars and events. Area 2, on research, has components at the building, neighborhood and city scale. It involves:

  • Innovative analyses of existing datasets from Chinese studies to better understand the connections between health and place.
  • Developing new tools for both evaluating places and making existing places and processes healthier. Most will be based on existing models but substantially adapted for the situation in China.
  • Translating existing research on the connections between environments and health into guidelines and prototypes for practice.

Finally, the project has created a forum for further work on the connections between built environments and public health.

Why This Matters

There are many links between health and the built environment, from air quality to food access. The Health and Places Initiative (HAPI) project is a program that helps create and synthesize the evidence base linking landscape, urban design, planning, and health.

For more information, please visit the Health and Places Initiative website.

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