Public health in an era of epidemics: from the camp to the building

We shouldn’t conceive anymore architecture projects and urban planning interventions that disregard their impact on public health. The way we design buildings, neighborhoods, and cities impact the health outcomes of the population. Urban development is at the core of new epidemics and pandemics, and the growth of urban settlements (including refugees) will likely increase the health gap between people of different socioeconomic status.

We will review existing studies and empirical evidence at the nexus of these fields, and through a scale approach (BUILDING-NEIGHBORHOOD-CITY-GLOBAL), we will study and evaluate different interventions, aiming to dismiss myths and reinforce those initiatives that can potentially improve population health. 

The goal of the course is to build awareness of the importance of incorporating robust public health facts and considerations in the early stages of an architectural or urban design project, but also to equip students with the skills needed to:
• Identify health issues that can potentially be tackled through design interventions
• Use robust evidence (through epidemiological studies) to propose and defend health-oriented solutions in design projects 
• Examine, asses, and design interventions taking into consideration a wide variety of aspects of public health
• Develop health-related interventions in complex public health settings (epidemics, refugees, etc.)

Course format: Interactive and dynamic classes with invited public health experts and presentations by the instructor (topic introduction), students (topic discussion), and a semester-long team exercise.