Create a healthy, inclusive, and regenerative built environment that harmonises with place and supports the transformation of unjust and unsustainable structures.

At cohere, we help communities create a healthy built environment using a co-design approach.

What is a healthy built environment?

The term “built environment” refers to the human-made architectures or structures that a community of people build and interact with on a daily basis. This includes physical architectures, such as buildings and public infrastructure, and it also includes social architectures, such as social norms and institutional routines. These interpenetrating architectures function like a system of pipes that channel human energy and natural processes in a particular way and not others.
Sometimes, the built environment channels human energy and natural processes in healthy ways, such as a building that supports the regeneration of life on Earth, or an inclusive culture that is orientated towards collective wellbeing. Other times, the built environment moves human energy and natural processes in ways that compromise health, such as a workplace that normalises unsustainable ways of working, or a social structure that perpetuates recurring cycles of injustice. A “healthy built environment” therefore, is one that is structured in such a way that it promotes the wellbeing of people and planet, while also being flexible enough that it can be changed or transformed when it is found to be compromising health.

What is a co-design approach to a healthy built environment?

Co-design is a participatory process that includes all of the stakeholders that will be affected by design decisions in the design process. In a built environment context, the two primary stakeholder groups to be included are people and place. Thus, a co-design approach to a healthy built environment includes people and place as partners in the design of structures that nurture wellbeing, and the transformation of structures that compromise health.
To support an inclusive and relational way of working together, an experienced facilitator brings community members alongside the genius or essence of place. Architects, wellbeing specialists, social justice practitioners, and community healers are also included throughout the design process.
If you would like to get a sense of what a co-design approach to the built environment looks like, check out our collaboration with happy spaces.

Let’s work together

Are you ready to take a co-design approach on your next built environment project? Book a call with Ash to explore how we might collaborate.