As people live longer and many cities densify it is becoming more apparent that the urban environment plays an increasingly integral role in human health. ULI recently held a Retail focused Healthy Places Roundtable in Birmingham, bringing together key players (see attendees in summary link below) from across the urban life-cycle to understand and challenge how property and the urban environment could play a leadership role in improving citizen health.
The roundtable also forms part of a growing programme across ULI with two earlier forums in the UK and the Health in Building Healthy Places Toolkit. The toolkit (see resources below) outlines evidence and strategies to enhance health through changes in approaches to buildings and projects for developers, owners, property managers, designers, investors, and others involved in real estate decision making. This roundtable therefore focused on how retail and its related sectors could further contribute to creating healthier people and communities by enhancing and meeting the growing desire for healthy urban environments.
Retail has a vital role to play in improving the health offer of our cities but arguably has lagged behind the innovation and change coming through in other sectors.
One reason for this is that the retail impact covers a lot of ground from staff to shoppers, from selling goods supporting and promoting a healthy lifestyle, to a shop fit out, location and design that does the same and aides sustainability? Therefore, there is a need to focus to get anything done.
Retail’s contribution can be as great in local/convenience locations as it is core destination centres
Fresh and up-to-date case studies are needed to illustrate the impact and best practice
Retailers, owners, planners, architects and the public sector need to work together to harness the potential upside.
‘in the past, we focused on disease prevention but we are now in a new era of preventive health and wellbeing that focuses on a system approach that challenges current structures and reform is needed’ Justin Harris, Studio Principle, IBI Group
The Roundtable highlighted the complexity of health but also reasuringly provided a wealth of solutions. A full summary can be found in the link below and includes: