LNAK10062U Health Design

Volume 2013/2014
MSc in Landscape Architechture

Course Contents
From an environmental psychology perspective the course will give an increased insight into the importance of outdoor environments for human quality of life, comfort, health and well-being. It will, based on international literature, peer-reviewed research papers and on Nordic cases, give an international perspective on:
1. The concept of Health Design, origin, definition, status etc.
2. The concept of Universal Design (design for all), origin, definition, status etc.
3. Explanatory models on the interaction between outdoor environments and human health
4. Health promoting characteristics of outdoor environments and health promoting outdoor activities
5. History, background, development and current status of health promoting city planning
6. History, background, development and current status of outdoor environments in institutional settings
7. Theories on healing mechanisms concerning healing gardens and horticultural therapy
8. Reflections on the concept of human health
9. Use, needs and preferences for different user groups ( e.g. different age groups, patients etc.)

All over the world there is an increasing interest in research results and practice experiences showing the impact of the physical environment on people’s health and well-being. The realization that good design, both indoors and outdoors, not only generates functional efficiency but also strengthens and improves health processes has given rise to a new branch of architecture, called Health Design. This should not be viewed as new discoveries but as rediscoveries or confirmation of a notion that has been considered quite self-evident for thousands of years. Ever since our early history there have been ideas to the effect that human health and well-being are influenced in a positive way by his spending time in natural surroundings – wild nature as well as enclosed gardens.

During 2007 researchers calculate that for the first time in history the majority of people in the whole world will live in urban areas. As a result people in the industrialized world are living their lives farther and farther away from nature, spending much of their time indoors. This may be connected to the fast raise in obesity, heart disease, diabetes II, osteoporosis, depression, stress and mental fatigue we now experience in the Scandinavian countries. An increasing number of governments around the world find an advantage of focusing on factors that determine health instead of the pathogenic diseases themselves, in that public health work will become more effective. Such a health policy means a shift in perspective towards an approach that will concentrate more on factors that stimulate people’s own health capacities. In this course we view Nature as a health factor; both for improvement of ill health (healing gardens) and maintenance and fortification of good health (nature and urban green spaces).

Learning Outcome
After completing the course the student should be able to:
- Seek, present and describe relevant theories (environmental psychology, landscape architecture and architecture)as relevant to the planning, development and understanding of health promoting outdoor environments
- Examine and analyse the varying needs, interests and preferences of different user groups with regard to health promoting outdoor environments, on the basis of gender, age, cultural context, social situation,
diagnosis and functional disability
- Examine and analyse the advantages and disadvantages of the interaction between institutional outdoor environments and specific health care activities
- Describe in detail how an institutional health promoting outdoor environment may be designed for different user groups, e.g. small children, elderly people etc.
- Present in detail practical and theoretical knowledge in the field Health Design to professionals and lay people.

- Improve the understanding on the health promoting interaction between the patient, the environment and the activity
- Seek, read and analyze peer-reviewed scientific papers
- Design a health improving institutional outdoor environment for a specific patient/user group
- Write a paper, arguing (based on research) for the design of health improving institutional outdoor environment, in a correct way
- Using methods for analyzing health quality of the institutional outdoor environment
- Present research, theories, analyses and design visions in oral presentation

- Work independently and self-directed in project work
- Cooperate efficient and communicative in group work
- Apply the course theories to related subjects in other courses and projects
Main literature will be:
Cooper Marcus, C & Barnes, M. 1999. Healing Gardens. Therapeutic benefits and design recommendations. John Wiley & sons, New York.

Kaplan, R., Kaplan S. & Ryan, R.L. 1998. With People in Mind. Design and management of everyday nature. Island Press, Washington D.C.
Further literature, primarily based on peer-reviewed papers, will be distributed and referred to.
It is a design course, which requires precious knowledge corresponding to at least one year participation in the landscape architecture program.
The teaching is inspired by ‘Problem Based Learning’. The goal is to make the teaching into active learning and it is driven by challenging, open-ended problems, where the teacher takes on the role as a facilitator of learning. As a result a number of different methods will be used; lectures, excursions, experiencing exercises, literature seminars and an individual project work. - Lectures will be held as basis for theoretical input. - Excursions are field trips where in some cases lectures are held and/or in some cases the specific outdoor environment is of focus for discussion. Here the students work in small collaborative groups in order to develop the students’ further understanding. - Experiencing exercises is when the students meet actual users (e.g children in kindergartens and elderly people in nursing homes), and together with these people experience specific outdoor environments. An individual project work runs through the whole course. The project work will end up in one product, consisting of two closely interrelated parts; one illustration plan and one academic paper. The goal is to develop or redesign an institutional environment for a specific user group. Here the students will transform all of their required knowledge into a detailed illustration plan. The design of the environment will be described and motivated for in the academic paper.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 33
  • Excursions
  • 50
  • Guidance
  • 65
  • Lectures
  • 57
  • Practical exercises
  • 65
  • Project work
  • 142
  • Total
  • 412
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20-30 min
Protfolio is to be understood as individual project work - A Health Design Project
Exam registration requirements
- Hand in the individual project work in time
- Participate in the sketch presentation
- Participate in at least one literature seminar
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
Quality of individual project work; design solution based on background knowledge regarding usergroup site/location conditions and Health Design therories

Understanding of course literature and basic theories

Oral presentation of the project work