Cities and well-being: Tampa's Wellness District

While welfare issues are becoming increasingly important for people, the quality of urban life has returned to the centre of the health debate.
Faced with the expected exponential increase in the number of people living in cities, administrators and planners are asking themselves the question: is it possible to design wellness-oriented cities?

From the countryside to the cities

Today, more than 50% of the world's population lives in urban areas. By 2050, this percentage is expected to grow to 70%. Economy, energy, mobility, work, and living: we are facing a transformation process of enormous magnitude, which will have an extraordinarily generalized impact.
Wellness, which is as closely linked as it is to lifestyles, will not remain untouched either. On the contrary, research and studies on the relationship between urban life, health and wellbeing follow one another at an urgent pace, testifying to how much the theme is heard. And rightly so: people living in cities are 21% more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders, to name but a few, than people living in non-urban areas, and 39% more likely to suffer from mood disorders.

Of course, not all cities are the same, but even within the same city there are major differences: in districts that are easier to walk through, for example, and have a higher rate of social connection, there are lower rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetics.

Giving a substantial space to the theme of well-being in city planning, then, seems very important. In Florida, they have tried to make wellness a guiding principle.

Water street Tampa: the first well certified community in the world

In Tampa, on the west coast of Florida, is a growing first district entirely designed to guarantee its inhabitants a very high quality of life, especially from the point of view of health.
The plan, which the New York studio Delos is working on, was based on the construction of guidelines for health-focused building design, which have established real standards for well building.

By meeting these benchmarks, the forty-acre area in the south of the United States will be the first in the world to have a “Well Certification”. A place where, in short, you are "officially" well. But, precisely, what does that mean?

How is a wellness friendly city made?

The urban planners most attentive to the issue are not new to certain warnings: to combat global problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes, it is essential to improve the pedestrian viability of cities and offer forms of alternative mobility.
Encouraging people to exercise, to have a balanced diet, to avoid excessive exposure to harmful toxins and gases: the structure of cities can contribute to all this in a very significant way.

And at Water Street Tampa, in a perfect material transposition of the principles of wellness oriented urbanism, there will be numerous pedestrian areas, wide sidewalks, a supermarket to ensure easy access to quality food and several water supply stations.

It is the most explicit adoption of a holistic approach to well-being in design, which does not fail to take into account the number of green spaces, air quality, constantly monitored, and typical urban problems such as noise pollution, contained with dedicated barriers.

Already in its conception phase, Water Street Tampa represents a new way of understanding the city and urban planning. And once finished, it will be a model for the (hopefully) increasingly liveable, human-sized, intelligent, sustainable, wellness friendly, city of the future.

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