Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 82


The

Center

PLACES, EVERYONE

The healthcare design community already knows
a thing or two about "placemaking," but the time
may be right to take the concept even further
By Debra Levin

I

recently with a healthcare-related foundation, and the conversation turned to "placemaking"-an
approach to designing and managing public spaces that capitalizes on local assets and potential to make them feel like a
welcoming oasis, a home away from home. To what extent
was our community-the healthcare design community-
talking about placemaking in our work? The more I thought
about it, I realized that many of its concepts are directly relevant to our industry and have been embedded in the work we do, while
other concepts deserve a little more attention.
When healthcare design is done thoughtfully,
THE KEY IS NOT TO GET
the concepts of placemaking are innately incorpoBOGGED DOWN WITH
rated into the design process, creating spaces that
are unique and draw people in, facilitating comWHAT YOU CAN'T DO,
munication and providing a distinct, positive enBUT START WITH WHAT
vironment. The users of these spaces may not be
YOU CAN DO.
able to articulate why they feel good when they're
there; they just know that they do.
Placemaking concepts are not new. They were first talked about in the
1960s and started to show up in the architecture and design lexicon in the
1970s. There are 11 principles that help to define the work, as listed by the
nonprofit organization Project for Public Spaces (pps.org). They are:
WAS ON A CALL

* The community is the expert.
* Create a place, not a design.
* Look for partners.
* You can see a lot by just observing.
* Have a vision.
* Start with the easy quick hits to learn from what works and what doesn't.
* Design to encourage personal interactions between strangers.
* They always say it can't be done.
* Form supports function.
* Money is not the issue.
* You are never finished.
So, what might we discover from incorporating pieces of these 11 steps into
our design conversations?
The community is the expert. Incorporating the feedback of patients, family, and staff who'll be using the healthcare facility is already the status quo
for our industry. But how often do we take a step back and look at the project through the lens of the facility's secondary function in the community?
As we engage in more conversations around population health, it's clear
that projects need to be places that go beyond healing and take an active
role in managing and maintaining a community's health.

82

SEPTEMBER 2016

Look for partners. Because placemaking capitalizes on a community's unique assets and individuality, it provides an opportunity to partner
with others, like local artists, to bring individuality to a healthcare project. It's a perfect way to
set a project apart from other buildings and draw
the community into a larger conversation about
health.
Start with the easy quick hits to learn from what
works and what doesn't. In placemaking, there
is a concept that says, "start with the petunias."
The key is not to get bogged down with what you
can't do, but start with what you can do. Like
large public spaces, healthcare projects are complex and ever-changing. Use that to your advantage and know that even incremental changes
could lead to significant improvements.
Design to encourage personal interactions between strangers. Chance conversations among
patients and visitors often lead to new friendships and support networks around health
issues, as well as sharing of knowledge and resources. Designing spaces that encourage these
types of random interactions can improve outcomes and reduce a potential sense of isolation.
You are never finished. Given their size and
complexity, healthcare projects often are their
own ecosystems, in addition to being part of the
larger community ecosystem. Setting up programs and partnerships that feed and support
this, as well as encourage new opportunities,
will, over time, help a building stay relevant as
our healthcare system continues to evolve.
The concepts of placemaking are a natural
addition to the conversation as we explore the
linkages between design and health and how
the design of our environments can bring better
opportunities to vulnerable or disinvested communities. Reaching out in your own communities to partner with other thought leaders and
organizations, like those involved in the work of
placemaking, could add new elements and opportunities you didn't know existed. 
Debra Levin is president and CEO of The Center for
Health Design. She can be reached at D L E V I N @
H E A LT H D E S I G N . O R G .

HCDMAGAZINE.COM


http://www.pps.org http://www.healthdesign.org http://www.HCDMAGAZINE.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Healthcare Design - September 2016

Healthcare Design - September 2016
Contents
Editorial
Show Talk
Photo Tour
Conversations Tarters
First Look
The Hcd 10
The Next Wave
Caring for the Caregivers
Color My World
Research
Product Spotlight
The Center
Aia-Aah
Face Time
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Healthcare Design - September 2016
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Cover2
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 1
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Contents
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 3
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 4
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 5
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 6
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 7
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Editorial
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 9
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Show Talk
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 11
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Photo Tour
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 13
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 14
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 15
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 16
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 17
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Conversations Tarters
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 19
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 20
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 21
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - First Look
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 23
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 24
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 25
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - The Hcd 10
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 27
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 28
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 29
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 30
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 31
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 32
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 33
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 34
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 35
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 36
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 37
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 38
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 39
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 40
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 41
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 42
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 43
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 44
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 45
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 46
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 47
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - The Next Wave
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 49
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 50
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 51
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 52
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 53
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 54
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 55
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 56
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 57
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Caring for the Caregivers
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 59
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 60
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 61
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 62
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 63
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 64
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 65
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Color My World
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 67
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 68
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 69
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Research
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 71
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 72
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 73
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 74
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 75
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 76
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Product Spotlight
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 78
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 79
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 80
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 81
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - The Center
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 83
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Aia-Aah
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 85
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 86
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - 87
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Face Time
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Cover3
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - Cover4
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S1
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S2
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S3
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S4
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S5
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S6
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S7
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Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S9
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S10
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S11
Healthcare Design - September 2016 - S12
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