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26 February 2019

HOK’s Joyce Chan Talks Healthy Cities and Well-Being in Advance of MIPIM 2019 Presentation

The sustainable design leader for HOK’s London studio will participate in a March 13 panel at MIPIM, one of the world’s largest conferences on real estate, construction and design.

Excerpted from MIPIM Preview, February 2019

Urban design is taking place with the well-being of city populations in mind. The capital of Denmark, for example, is on a journey to become one of the world’s healthiest and, in turn, happiest places to live. As part of the “Enjoy Life Copenhageners” strategy, the city is set to become the first carbon-neutral capital in the world, and to be smoke-free.

But it is not just physical health that the strategy is addressing: Improving people’s well-being and mental health is at the core of the plan. One of the fundamental ways in which this is being carried out is in urban design and planning with cooperation among designers, builders and healthcare and public services, such as daycare providers, homeless shelters and educational bodies.

To improve well-being, we need to think about things on a city-scale.

Joyce Chan, sustainable design leader for HOK’s London studio, says that for this type of grand plan to come to life, city leaders and developers need to work together on a macro level.

“To improve well-being, we need to think about things on a city-scale,” said Chan. “This includes buildings but also the whole journey through a city. Real estate has increased its understanding of this in the past two years. Developers are coming to us to ask specifically about well-being. They are getting more interested in these concepts.”

Other cities and nations not known for their healthy environments are also getting in on the act and may now be more inclined to factor well-being into urban planning.

“The developed countries are actually slower than countries like China because they know it will be restrictive to their growth if they don’t control pollution and air quality,” said Chan. “They are pushing a high sustainability agenda.”

Headed to MIPIM 2019? Be sure to catch Chan’s panel discussion “Buildings & Construction: Engaging for Resources Efficiency” taking place March 13 at 11:15 a.m. More details at mipim.com.