NHS England is embarking upon a radical rethink of how we live in the built environment. NHS England is teaming up with architects, town planners and landscape architects in an ambitious project to develop ten ‘healthy towns’ across the country.
It is thought that a more considered approach to our built environment can make a significant impact on our health, and even help address some of the nation’s major healthcare problems such as obesity and dementia. Clinicians, designers and technology experts will work together to create towns that not only encourage healthier lifestyles but will also promote independent living for older residents and those with mental health conditions.
Healthy Town designs will place an emphasis on workplaces, schools, leisure facilities and green open spaces. ‘Fast food free zones’ are also being considered, so we are encouraged to choose healthier diet options. By prioritising footpaths, cycle paths and green spaces into our built environment it is hoped these ‘healthy towns’ will encourage us to engage in more physical activity. Dementia friendly zones will include wider footpaths, fewer trip hazards and LCD moving lights, as studies have shown these measures help dementia suffers navigate towns.
Not only will these new healthy towns help to improve the health of the nation it will provide a much needed boost to new housing developments across the country. The project is set to deliver 76,000 homes.
The 10 sites, which are at different stages of development, are Whitehill and Bordon in Hampshire; Cranbrook in Devon; Darlington in County Durham; Barking Riverside in London; Whyndyke Farm in Fylde, Lancashire; Halton Lea in Runcorn, Cheshire; Bicester in Oxfordshire; Northstowe in Cambridgeshire; Ebbsfleet Garden City in Kent; and Barton Park in Oxford.
This article was written by Leigh