ASPPH and ACSA Fall Conference: Building for Health and Well-being: Structures, Cities, Systems

The 2016 ACSA/ASPPH Fall Conference: Building for Health and Well-Being: Structures.Cities.Systems, the first-ever joint conference between the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) took place September 22-24 in Honolulu, HI. Dr. Howard Frumkin, University of Washington School of Public Health, served as co-chair for the conference and represented ASPPH in Hawaii. Enthusiasm, energy, and openness for collaboration between disciplines was evident among conference attendees, made up mostly of faculty from schools and programs of architecture, with some public health representation. Sessions highlighted approaches to collaborative course development, environmental justice issues, and designing for health, among other interdisciplinary collaborative efforts. A full conference program and abstracts can be found on the conference website.

As a result of ASPPH’s longstanding commitment to health in all policies and interdisciplinary education, and efforts to explore research, educational, and other collaborative opportunities, ASPPH was asked to join the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium established by the AIA Foundation, the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The 2016 ACSA/ASPPH Fall conference is a direct result of ASPPH involvement with the Design & Health Research Consortium and the Design & Health Leadership Group.

Four questions were identified at the closing of the conference to carry forward in all collaborative efforts:

  1. What are the important research issues? What are the questions we need answered in order to know how to create healthy places for people? (e.g. is a sidewalk on one side of the street, vs. both sides, sufficient? What is the most effective way to “green” a neighborhood? What is the best HVAC system for air quality?)
  2. How do we reconcile the biomedical research paradigm used in public health with the design research paradigm? How do we advance collaborative research? What are the implications for teaching? How do we take the insights from each profession into the classroom? What is the best way to approach joint courses/programs, etc.?
  3. How do we translate research into practice? Once we understand how to create healthy settings, how do we translate these findings into the field so they can have an impact on the population?
  4. How do we reconcile the need for immediate action with the long term evolving state of knowledge in this field? And how do we deal with short term needs?

Look back at the conference on Twitter #buildingforhealth