The Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978 redefined health as not simply the absence of disease, but as a total state of physical, mental, and social well-being and as a fundamental human right. This not only ushered in a new era of disease prevention, health promotion, and medical care, but it set the stage for a closer examination of the built environment as a determinant of health and disease. Simultaneously, as the dominant ailments of the era have shifted from infectious to chronic, the role of the built environment has become more expansive and arguably more complex.
The interest in connecting the built environment and human health is not new, nor is viewing the environment as an indicator of population wellness. Hippocrates hypothesized the connection of “bad” airs and waters to illness, and Aldo Leopold used the internal systems of the human body as a model for ecosystem “land health.” While these holistic models of intertwined health and environment are more poetic hypotheses than empirical, they play a large part in framing contemporary discourse. Now armed with new technologies and methods, how can designers, planners, and public health professionals advance those theories? As public health moves toward a place-based practice, how will we design and construct those places? As we expand beyond thinking of health as a typology to a quality of space or metric of performance, how do we confront its integration into teaching and practice?
The 2016 ACSA/ASPPH Fall Conference is the first-ever joint conference between the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH). We will connect academics, practitioners, and policy makers who are exploring issues at the intersection of design, the built environment and public health at all scales – from materials to buildings to landscapes to urban and social systems. Through small group workshops, rapid fire presentations, and focused plenary debates, this conference will confront the constraints on and potentials for design, research, and collaboration.
The Conference calls for the submission of studies, design projects, tool demonstrations and more for six separate sub-topics. We encourage submissions unconstrained by traditional formats. Authors should propose a submission format best suited to their project, e.g. talk, demonstration, interactive workshop, or debate.