Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Washington, D.C. – December 15, 2014 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA), along with the AIA Foundation and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), today named the Illinois School of Architecture and 10 other architecture schools and schools of public health as charter members of the AIA Design & Health Research Consortium, which will help fund basic research on how design affects public health.

An interdisciplinary faculty team from Illinois organized its proposal around recognition that stressful conditions of modern living threaten the health and well-being of millions of Americans and billions of people around the world. Through the study of physiological responses, the Illinois team will examine ways that residential environments can be designed to address conditions exacerbating stress and to enhance conditions that restore us following stressful experiences. The team intends to use the findings from their work to develop evidence-based design tools that will assist in the creation of healthier homes and neighborhoods.

The Illinois team is led by Lynne Dearborn, PhD, and includes William Worn, AIA, as well as colleagues from other academic units and central Illinois communities: William Sullivan, PhD (Landscape Architecture), Mary Edwards, PhD (Urban and Regional Planning), Weimo Zhu, PhD (Kinesiology and Community Health), Claudia Lennhoff (Champaign County Health Care Consumers), and Ron Clewer and Jodi Stromberg (Rockford Housing Authority).

“The research teams chosen for this consortium include some of the nation’s leading thinkers about the growing connection between design and public health,” said AIA CEO Robert Ivy, FAIA. “We chose them because their research has the best potential for affecting policy across a wide swath of issues at the intersection of the built environment and public health.”

Over a three-year period, the AIA and its partners will provide institutional support and capacity building for consortium members to promote collaboration through local and national partnerships; enable the sharing of knowledge through private listserv activity, conference calls, and face-to-face events; and provide a new portal on AIA.org for members to share research activity. Whenever appropriate, the AIA and its partners will promote the activities of the consortium with potential funders.

More information about the consortium’s aims and its charter members is available on the AIA website.