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Building for a Healthy Life

Building for a Healthy Life

Building for a Healthy Life is the most up to date design tool used by organisations and bodies involved with new community planning and development. It follows on from the Building for Life 12 principles.

When nature and people are at the heart of neighbourhood design, it results in a more attractive, better connected, and healthier community.

Building for a Healthy Life was created in partnership with Homes England and the NHS. It brings together 12 key principles to be used throughout the design and planning process, creating places that are better for people and nature.

Cover photo of the Building for a Healthy Life toolkit

Using the Building for a Healthy Life Toolkit

Building for a Healthy Life is a design code to help improve the design of new and growing neighbourhoods. The 12 considerations are organised under three headings. The guide also provides clear visual and written prompts of good and bad design in practice.

Integrated Neighbourhoods
– Natural connections
– Walking, cycling and public transport
– Facilities and services
– Homes for everyone

– Making the most of what’s there
– A memorable character
– Well defined streets and spaces
– Easy to find your way around

Streets for Everyone
– Healthy Streets
– Cycle and car parking
– Green and blue infrastructure
– Back of pavement, front of home

The Building for a Healthy Life toolkit is designed to be used by key audiences involved in the planning and development of new neighbourhoods, streets, and open spaces. This includes:

  • Local authorities
  • Highways authorities
  • Developers
  • Local communities
  • Planning committees
  • Strategic planning leads within the healthcare system

The Building for a Healthy Life toolkit works best when its principles are applied at the outset of planning, but it can also be used to review the quality of completed developments. It’s a useful tool to help identify areas of success, and where to focus improvement efforts.

A local use example

Goldsmith Street in Norwich is an award-winning local example of community housing that prizes the idea of a sustainable community, and makes use of Building for Healthy Life principles.

This project won the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize in 2019. It is an excellent example of progressive modern housing design, with community and open spaces designed so that streets feel safe, and are owned by pedestrians rather than cars.

Read Architecture.com’s synopsis of why Goldsmith Street deserved this coveted prize.