Sunday 20 October, 1.30pm until 3.00pm, Cinema 3 Urban Life
Healthy City pioneer, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, argues, ‘we have a responsibility as human beings to save lives,’ suggesting a government’s ‘highest duty’ is to make ‘healthy solutions the default social option’. In the UK, former Design Council boss David Kester says architects should be placed ‘slap in the middle’ between ‘policy narrative and user experience’, arguing, ‘we are very emotional and highly suggestible beings and we as architects are certainly shaping feelings and by designing buildings shaping outcomes’.
Two thirds of people in the UK are said to be overweight or obese, and planners and designers are increasingly called upon to ‘shape outcomes’ by creating neighbourhoods and buildings that promote active and healthy lifestyles. Is the movement to design ‘fit cities’ a realistic and desirable development, and if so, what role should designers play in it? When designing out the ‘wrong’ type of food shops, hiding lifts so to encourage stair use, or banishing car parks to the edge of estates to ‘encourage’ people to walk, are we simply making it easier for citizens to do the right thing, or arrogantly making people’s decisions for them? Does the curious nudge mantra of ‘making things easy by making things difficult’ mean designers acting on a moral duty to save us, or engaging in social engineering?
chief executive, The Portman Group; former member, Cabinet Office's Behavioural Insights Team
associate director, Future Cities Project; researcher; co-editor, The Lure of the City: from slums to suburbs
deputy editor, Architects' Journal
architecture graduate, Royal College of Art; author, Back to Morality: an architectural fable for our modern times
associate editor, spiked; writer on science and risk; author, Panic on a Plate: how society developed an eating disorder
We’ve designed our world to keep us from having to exert ourselves. We have escalators and elevators and moving sidewalks precisely because we don’t want to be forced to work out all the time. But combine these conveniences with the largely desk-bound life of the modern knowledge worker, and it starts to look like we may have erred in the other direction—engineering physical activity out of our lives.Andrew Price, GOOD, 23 July 2013
Places such as London's Canary Wharf would be more vibrant if we weren't so restricted in what we can do thereWill Hutton, Guardian, 16 June 2013
Many of the well-meaning, interventionist policies being proposed in the UK, or implemented in Mayor Bloomberg's New York City, aim to 'nudge' the citizen into making a positive choice towards a better diet. But this may not be the easiest route to a healthy lifestyle.Alex Maxwell, Huffington Post, 4 July 2012
Frank Furedi slams the ‘choice architects’ who bypass public debate in their zealous effort to reshape our minds and bodies.Frank Furedi, spiked, 20 January 2011
Experts are starting to think so - and they're urging architects and town planners to tackle the obesity epidemic by making new buildings more fitness-friendly. Paul Arendt reportsPaul Arendt, Guardian, 4 January 2007
Promoting physical activity and health in designCentre For Active Design