Center for Healthy Environments

Mission

The mission of the Center for Healthy Environments at NewSchool of Architecture & Design is to promote the school’s established leadership and expertise in the fields of neuroscience for architecture, healthy urbanism, and sustainable architecture. The Center provides consulting and research expertise to the community as well as specialized educational tracks in these fields.

NewSchool has been at the forefront of the field since its founding, through close partnership with the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 2003, AIA granted an award for the establishment of the first offices of Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA), housed at NewSchool and today, NewSchool faculty continue to contribute as key participants in ANFA, which supports studies, workshops, and university-based educational programs designed to explore research that integrates neuroscience and architecture. The school’s expertise in the field continues to be widely recognized. In December 2015, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) together with AIA Foundation and the Association for Collegiate Schools in Architecture (ACSA) named NewSchool as one of the 11 charter members of its first AIA Design & Health Research Consortium.

NewSchool and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Diego have partnered together to launch an annual scholarship of up to $20,000 for the top architecture and design professionals interested in pursuing their graduate degree at NewSchool.

History and ANFA

In 2003, Norman L. Koonce, then-Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the AIA, had spoken to researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the nonprofit scientific research institute founded by Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine, in La Jolla, California. Koonce learned about the power of architecture on the mind and that the environment enriches the brain, and he realized that San Diego was a nexus of ideas between neuroscience and architecture.

That realization led to the granting of the 2003 Latrobe Fellowship, a biennial award by the AIA of $100,000, to support the founding of the first offices of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture (ANFA) at NewSchool under the oversight of Gilbert Cooke, then Dean and President of NewSchool. The first course on neuroscience and architecture at NewSchool was taught by John Eberhard of the AIA, the founding president of ANFA. He was assisted by Dr. Eve Edelstein, whose unique background with a Ph.D. in neuroscience and a Master’s degree in architecture from NewSchool allowed her to help develop advanced courses on exploring ways that neuroscientific concepts might be applied to design. From the ANFA offices in NewSchool, they launched professional workshops and educational programs, and ANFA began to take shape.

NewSchool faculty continues to contribute as key participants in the academy, which supports studies, workshops, and university-based educational programs designed to explore research that integrates neuroscience and architecture. The academy is the first institution in the world to link neuroscience, one of the newest frontiers of knowledge, with architecture, one of the oldest disciplines of human civilization.

Research and Teaching

There are a number of factors that impact and shape the built environment, factors that increase in importance as the planet becomes more and more urban. They can be summed up in the following key issues that Center for Healthy Environments addresses in the development of pedagogy, practice, and policy:

  1. Climate Change: Architecture’s role in resiliency and restoration of the environment
  2. Population Growth: Design that responds to the change and composition of urban habitation
  3. Health: How design shapes physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being

As part of the architecture degree programs, NewSchool offers certificates in Neuroscience for Architecture and Healthy Urbanism. The classes prepare students to inform policy change and to advance designs that seek to improve human and environmental health. Learn more about our certificates.

Faculty

In the News

NewSchool of Architecture & Design’s expertise in the field of healthy environments continues to be widely recognized by the media, professional associations as well as the community. Below is a list of selected press features:

NewSchool of Architecture & Design featured in San Diego Business Journal’s Special Report on Health Care | June 22, 2015
NewSchool students and faculties’ recent work with the University of California San Diego (UCSD) health system’s design and construction arm of the Jacobs Medical Center to create a visual and acoustic “virtual reality” of the Center featured in San Diego Business Journal.

Health Facilities Management | June 3, 2015
Cover Story: Building Better Behavioral Health Care Facilities

UCSD, NewSchool and Innovation Design Science announce new Design + Health Collaboratory | March 4, 2015
San Diego company Innovative Design Science, as well as the University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) and NewSchool of Architecture & Design, announced they have teamed up to launch a Design + Health Collaboratory. The Design + Health Collaboratory consults with and conducts studies for clinicians, architects, designers, engineers, planners and policy makers in order enhance design for all scales, people and places. The group’s development follows on the heels of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Design + Health Research Consortium December 2014 announcement that NewSchool, UC San Diego and Innovative Design Science were named as charter members, an exclusive honor for only 11 selected architecture schools and schools of medicine or public health from across the U.S.

Aljazeera America | February 26, 2015
Smart Buildings: Architects using brain science for design guidance
Applying neuroscience in designing buildings helps occupants learn smarter, heal faster, and feel better.