Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

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.'     


About the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design

The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design is the Royal College of Art’s largest centre for design research and international leader in people-centred and inclusive design and has completed over 280 projects with around 180 partner organisations.

 About the RCA

The Royal College of Art, the internationally renowned art and design university, provides students with unrivalled opportunities to deliver art and design projects that transform the world. A small, specialist and research-intensive postgraduate university based in the heart of London, the RCA is a high performing institution, a radical traditionalist in a fast-paced world. The RCA’s approach is founded on the premise that art, design creative thinking, science, engineering and technology must all collaborate to solve today’s global challenges.

The university employs around 1,000 professionals from around the world – professors, researchers, art and design practitioners, advisers and visiting lecturers – to teach and develop students in 30 academic programmes. RCA students are exposed to new knowledge in a way that encourages them to experiment. Working across scientific and technical canvases and beyond set boundaries, RCA students seek to solve real-world problems.

The RCA runs joint courses with Imperial College London and the Victoria & Albert Museum. InnovationRCA, the College's centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, has helped over 50 RCA business ideas become a reality that has led to the creation of over 600 UK jobs.

Alumni include David Adjaye, Christopher Bailey, Monster Chetwynd, David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Thomas Heatherwick, Lubaina Himid, Clare Waight Keller and Rose Wylie.

The RCA was named the world’s leading university of art and design in the QS World Rankings 2019 for the fifth consecutive year.