Those involved in developing and creating new places are increasingly becoming aware of their responsibility to enhance well-being for those who visit, work or live in that space.
50% of the population lives in a city, exposed to stresses such as increased noise pollution. Research shows those living in urban environments have a higher risk of mental illnesses such as anxiety and paranoia. Placing well-being at the heart of design is just the start of a long-term solution to help improve quality of life for those living in cities and urban areas.
Designing a place with well-being at its core
From the very first blueprint, modern buildings are being conceptualised with well-being in mind. Property developers know that the way they create a place will determine how people respond to it. Buildings with design elements such as rooftop terraces, living walls/roofs, green space and water features will attract audiences looking for a greater sense of well-being. Gone are the days of impersonal office blocks and cities full of identical apartments – purchasers across every industry (whether that is retail, leisure, residential or businesses) want to be part of something different.
Aesthetics and interior design also play a seemingly small but vital part in enhancing well-being. Incorporating a variety of different spaces gives people the choice to interact with the space as they need to. Private booths, break-out areas and a range of hotdesks and standing desks are just some ways places can enhance a sense of well-being as people feel a level of control.
A lighting strategy should also be considered, taking into consideration the level of light required for each area. Of course, where possible natural light should be in plentiful supply – leading to a rise in large glass windows and roofs. Those working in a space with natural elements such as sunlight and greenery report a 15% higher level of well-being.
Well-being can even be enhanced through colour – with blues and greens often cited as the best colours to use to promote a calming atmosphere. Vibrancy can also be added to a space through feature walls or colourful furniture, though it’s important to ensure this isn’t overbearing.
Well-being that extends beyond four walls
It’s not enough to plonk a tenant into a cool, contemporary space and expect well-being to flourish. A gym or relaxation room is all very well and good, but it requires a community of people comfortable enough to use the space and interact with one another. Community apps or forums are a great way to help office workers or residents connect, ask questions or receive exclusive savings and offers. This intrinsic sense of belonging enhances well-being as a person feels included and in control of their environment.
Communal spaces such as break-out rooms, co-working areas or café/bars all provide variety and connectivity. When paired with great interior design, you have a recipe for success.
Organised events can also help improve well-being for residents or office workers. Think pop-ups from local businesses – particularly those that promote a healthy lifestyle, such as a nutritionist or sports equipment provider. Well-being events/activities within a community such as a local choir group or walking group can be arranged – whether this is organised by one office, residential group or retail destination in order to boost positive associations with the place and enhance well-being.
Can an entirely public space also improve its well-being offering?
Of course. In fact, Leeds City Council is currently looking to improve public spaces across the city – improving the amount of green space and public interaction within key areas. Having interaction with nature is proven to have a positive effect on health and well-being.
In-store shopping experience can also be improved. Simple measures such as improving aisle space and playing quieter, less intrusive music can contribute to a better, less stressed environment for shoppers. There’s also a significant rise in the number of retailers offering pop-up shops and in-store experiences to enhance their offering. Plus, shops are beginning to offer additional training for staff members, such as Mental Health First Aid, to allow them to better serve a wide range of customers with varying needs and requirements.
Our recent work with Dukes Lane, Brighton, saw us paint the Lane in vibrant brand colours – promoting the area’s exciting community spirit. This, in turn, enhances the well-being of those visiting Dukes Lane as they are greeted with a colourful, positive aesthetic that stands out.
It’s time to talk about well-being
Having a state-of-the-art office environment ready to let, or a wellness focussed residential offering, is just the first step. Next up you’ll have to tell people about it. That’s where DS.Emotion, as place marketers, comes in. We’ll make sure your message reaches the right people, ultimately helping your place to become successful. Get in touch if you’d like to review your well-being strategy or discuss how you can effectively position your place.