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Shaping places for health, wellbeing & social sustainability

Without a deep understanding of how people experience the places we create, how can we aim to shape built environments that could fully enable human and social wellbeing?

This deep-dive 40min talk shares Natasha's journey in creating and implementing a first-in-its-kind design framework for health and social wellbeing into the local authority planning system in London.

This new model changes the definition of design excellence to be based on human experience outcomes and quality of life.

Natasha shares her design philosophy for “Compassionate Spaces: Expanding humanistic architecture and design”. This body of work has evolved since 2013 through both research and “live” prototype design projects to develop a new model for “Human Experience Design”.

Based on science-informed and socially-conscious practices, this approach was applied into pragmatic application in local government as innovative design guidelines in 2023. An academic evaluation is underway over 12 months to assess the health impacts of this intervention.


“At a time of complex, intersecting crises, there is recognition that the thinking that’s gone before cannot solve the challenges of today.
There is an urgent need to refocus our efforts, values and priorities. If cities are to improve the human condition, there cannot be progress without a reorientation to the human experience of places – to support the bold solutions and step change needed towards built environments that are meaningfully focused on what matters to people and communities.“

This work was catalysed through engagement with the Conscious Cities movement and as a Fellow of the Centre for Conscious Design – an international collective promoting the emergence of healthy built environments.

Overall this body of work aims to shift the way places are made to reflect a deeper sensitivity to our human nature and human needs. It explores the potential for new forms of dedicated “human design” practice at the intersection of disciplines, sectors and ways of thinking, combining design with health and human sciences, as well as arts-led methods.


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