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Healthy City Design International Congress 2019

Will our cities have a bright, health-inducing future for their citizens, or are they destined to descend into chaos and crisis? The third Health City Design International Congress – a partnership between the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and Salus Global Knowledge Exchange – debated the issues at the Royal College of Physicians in London on 14 and 15 October 2019.

Attracting 300 delegates from 22 different countries, spanning the fields of design, health, wellness and sustainable development, the Congress explored the theme of ‘Designing for Utopia or Dystopia?’, framing the development of healthy cities as at a crossroads with alternative futures. 

The 2019 event featured 85 peer-reviewed academic papers from all over the world (including USA, Canada, Spain, India, Belgium, the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Italy and Australia), as well as five workshops and 25 posters.

Helen Hamlyn Professor of Design Jeremy Myerson is the academic convenor, co-organiser and chair of the Health City Design International Congress. RCA researchers Professor Jo-Anne Bichard, Gail Ramster, Dan Phillips and Dr Artur Mausbach were among those presenting. Global industry participation included Lendlease, WSP, Civitas, Arup, BDP, NBJJ, Perkins & Will and Ryder Architecture. Leading UK organisations presenting at the congress included Imperial College London, NHS England, Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Design Council.

The purpose of the Health City Design Congress is to encourage closer working between public health professionals, academics, designers, architects and urban planners to create healthier cities – thus supporting the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design’s broad objective to advance design that improves quality of urban life.

As Jeremy Myerson explains: 'Amid a real climate emergency, there is now a growing call for action requiring a much more cross-disciplinary and transdisciplinary approach to greening our cities and reducing air pollution. The 2019 Congress created a platform for change, showcasing RCA research as potentially part of the solution – not the problem – and bringing different perspectives together from around the world.'     

For further information or images please contact RCA Communications and Marketing Department t: +44 (0) 20 7590 4114, e: [email protected]