AIA Welcomes Four Members to Design and Health Research Consortium

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) has named four more universities as members of the AIA-ACSA Design & Health Research Consortium.

The new members are the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of South Florida, Cornell University’s Institute for Healthy Futures and North Carolina State University.

These four teams join an existing network of 19 university teams dedicated to researching the link between health outcomes and design interventions. The AIA-led consortium helps translate this research into architectural practice for design and public health professionals, policy makers and the general public.

“Since 2015, this multi-disciplinary community of researchers has applied more than $31 million towards research, published more than 100 papers and participated in nearly 400 public symposia, community workshops and local AIA events,” says American Institute of Architects CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA. “Their work has subsequently opened the door for new research-focused partnerships between schools and major design firms.”

“These members will add to a growing body of knowledge that is influencing our thinking and developing policies that underscore the role of the built environment in improving public health,” says Ivy.

Here’s a look at the research activities of each new consortium member:

  • Illinois Institute of Technology: The diverse team blends expertise in rehabilitation psychology, architecture and engineering to conduct empirical research on mental and physical health in the built environment. Specifically, the team plans to further examine the associations between indoor environmental quality and the productivity, health and well-being of occupants.
  • University of South Florida. Researchers at the Florida Center for Community Design & Research and USF College of Public Health will focus on the Tampa Bay region’s urban resiliency opportunities. Research will leverage transportation, infrastructure, smart growth principals and institutional logics to evaluate opportunities for bolstering population health factors through improved built environment design initiatives.
  • The Cornell University Institute for Healthy Futures combines hospitality, architectural and environmental design, and health policy and management into a broad-based platform to improve service in healthcare, wellness and senior living. Current research projects include the impact of the physical environment on mental health, design goals for hospice care, tools that measure human behavior and means of supporting wellness and sustainability in hospitality settings.
  • North Carolina State University: As a Land Grant and Extension institution, NCSU engages citizens statewide on issues of design, sustainability and community health and engagement. Investigators are exploring health in a variety of scales, from childhood environments to reduce obesity, to access to greenways in planning, to health strategies for rural communities. Recently, their team from the College of Design and College of Natural Resources was funded to examine how privately funded multifamily development projects are investing in public health initiatives.

“These new members add depth to the collective work of the consortium, particularly in areas of physical activity and workplace productivity,” Michael Monti, ACSA executive director says. “Their work will translate findings for practice and add research that others can build on.”

Over a three-year period, the AIA and its partners will provide institutional support and capacity building for the new consortium members, promoting collaboration through local and national partnerships and enable knowledge-sharing through conference calls and face-to-face events.

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