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Living Homes: Innovating new models for wellbeing

We were invited to take part in a panel discussion held by European think-tank Class of 2020 on future health & wellbeing standards and design innovation for collective living spaces - including co-living, purpose-built student accommodation, and new forms of hotels.

Watch a video here of our approach in response to COVID-19 and our LIVING HOMES cluster concept - looking to addressing wellbeing, mental health and loneliness together.

With the current shifts in awareness in just how much the built environment impacts our quality of life – can now be the time to radically rethink the role buildings play in society?


Key points from the presentation:


There is a huge opportunity to optimise the benefits of shared living towards eliminating urban loneliness and enhancing broader wellbeing.


How to design places and solutions that don’t feel restrictive or are distorting our patterns of behaviours? We also need to consider a broad understanding of health and wellbeing, not just about physical health, but also mental health and wellness. There is opportunity to tie together many areas that enhance wellbeing at the same time with new standards


Flexibility must be implemented to keep spaces dynamic, adaptable and relevant in the future and allow people to socialise to different degrees through spatial layouts and flows. Considering design and operation together is critical.

New toolkits of measures will emerge, (International WELL Building Institute Covid-19 Taskforce is updating their WELL building standard) for example air filtration systems, non-touch door systems etc

What will make people feel comfortable and safe to come together again?

How do we avoid permanently sterile environments when life has eventually returned to normal?


We need new “pandemic-proof” models, and there’s likely to be shifts in policy and market demand for health and wellbeing led places. How to nuture connectedness, but build in option for flexibility? There can still be physical distancing, but designed as sociable as possible

New clustered living models can provide privacy whilst maintaining social connection, and include threshold spaces for access to nature and views out, natural light and fresh air – key challenges for high density urban locations.


Thinking beyond baseline physical and mental health to fully optimising quality of life

Ie. The WELL building standard looks at areas such as air quality but also how fitness is integrated into a buildings operation.

MATTER . SPACE . SOUL user-focused toolkit that takes a holistic way of looking at wellbeing across different disciplines.


The panel of experts also included Matt Lesniak (Conscious Coliving) and Ben Etherington (LOFT) who shared brilliant insights into the coliving sector and current adaptations for design in a COVID world.

For a further information on the panel session and insights please see the Class of 2020’s Industry recommendations for Purpose-Built Student Accomodation sector

The Class of 2020 is a European think-tank for the future of living, learning and working in university-cities.


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