Guest Editors: Traci Rose Rider, Ph.D., and Margaret van Bakergem, Ph.D.
The built environment has inextricable connections to public health behaviors and outcomes. Evidence of these linkages are notable at small scales, for example, between buildings and occupants, as well as at a global stage, with the climate crisis and associated epidemiological concerns. With a growing emphasis on health at multiple levels across communities, regions, countries, and the globe, there is increased interest in how the built environment can meaningfully contribute to improved health outcomes. Recently adopted frameworks and rating systems are beginning to unpack how individual buildings can move toward healthier occupant populations, but these initiatives only begin to scrape the surface of issues that must be addressed through built environment design practices and policy efforts. A paradigm shift is needed in education, training programs, research focus areas, and related professions to address established and emerging public health challenges through a built environment lens. More specifically, current and future designers are largely producing designs that fall drastically short on improving both the health of the environment and the health of communities.
This special edition of ENQ: The ARCC Journal, includes articles that consider the idea of public health at different scales and how the complex issues of health in the built environment can be explored going forward.