Rebecca Taylor's perspective on creating healthy places in the home during a global pandemic.
Rebecca Taylor, Partner at JTP, harnesses her expertise in creating healthy places to recast the key principles from our recently published book, Healthy Placemaking, helping us understand how we can allow our homes to function better.
In the face of a global health crisis, the conversation has shifted from healthy placemaking to healthy homemaking and homeworking. How can we apply everything we know about what makes a healthy city, town or village to create a comfortable and productive home?
Healthy places begin with good planning. Organise your home environment to maximise convenience, synergy and virtual interaction. A varied mix of uses and spaces that respond to the needs of everyone in your household is important. Consider finding a ‘primary’ workspace within your home but move around to keep yourself active and engaged. If possible, keep a delineation between spaces that are associated with leisure time.
Get out for some exercise and movement (if you're not self-isolating). Being outside and getting fresh air will provide a different perspective will help unravel mental blocks and give you a fresh pair of eyes for tasks you're struggling with. (But do remember to keep your social distance!).
NEIGHBOURHOODS (WITHIN THE HOME)
Healthy places work down to the very local level, where shared spaces work together to meet people’s needs for a safe, supportive and comfortable living environment. Ensure your home allows your entire household to feel that they have control and responsibility over communal spaces and that shared spaces are comfortable, sociable and well-lit to support the needs of everyone.
Healthy places prioritise green infrastructure. When working from home, being surrounded by plants, natural light, fresh air and a view to the outside can help with productivity. As the weather warms up, consider working from your balcony, rooftop or next to a window to maintain a connection with nature and the outdoors.
We know that healthy places are rooted in community and social networks. Whilst many of us may have lost the immediacy of face-to-face communications, there are many ways to connect with colleagues, friends and family to remain part of your communities. Remember to reinforce group connectivity with regular check-ins, using video wherever possible to continue to grow and strengthen relationships.
In the same vein, remember to disconnect. Now that we’re spending far more time collaborating virtually, it is even more important to disconnect and reflect. Schedule tech-free breaks where possible.
We must learn from this crisis, how we can improve our wellness and health at all scales – but perhaps, as with most things, we must start at home.