Design firm DIALOG and The Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) have published a framework to help design and development professionals understand the impact of their project design decisions on community well-being.
The report “Community Wellbeing: A Framework for Design Professions” is made up of five domains, 18 indicators, and 48 metrics. The domains—social, cultural, environmental, economic, and political—represent the dimensions of life that can affect a community’s well-being. The indicators are the aspects of each domain determining the presence or absence of community well-being. Each indicator is informed by a series of quantifiable and qualifiable metrics that are relevant across different scales and context.
Some questions asked by the framework include:
- Do people feel welcome, safe, and engaged, 24/7, regardless of background or physical ability?
- Does the project have a positive impact on the functioning of local and global natural systems?
- Does the project account for full life-cycle value and costs to the environment and community?
- Do people feel included in their communities, connected to their social networks, and engaged in civic and community life, regardless of their background?
- Do decision-makers, stakeholders, and the public at-large have opportunities to collaborate with the project team from the outset and throughout the life of the project?
“Having a framework upon which our industry can define and evaluate the built environment’s contributions to community well-being empowers conversations toward a shared vision and actionable decision-making,” says Antonio Gómez-Palacio, principal at DIALOG. “Co-ordinating our approach in the design industry will support all members of a community—the public sector, the private sector, and individual groups—in finding common ground, a shared vision, and sense of purpose to design physical environments, first and foremost, in the interests of community well-being that has tangible value.”
The research initiative was proposed by DIALOG in 2016 to more accurately align the firm’s project work with their mission to improve the well-being of communities and the environments they share. The result of the two-year research is an open-ended and self-determined guide accessible for free with the invitation to share feedback and experiences to allow CBoC and DIALOG to continue to explore the benefits of designing for community well-being.
The framework also provides business case application with demonstrable return on investment (ROI) to design for community well-being in workplace, academic, hospital, retail, and residential settings. To download the report, click here.