How to Incorporate Health and Wellness into Multifamily Design

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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on personal mental, physical and emotional well-being, and shined a stronger light on the importance of health and wellness in our daily lives. It's also provided people with the opportunity to look at how their well-being is tied to their homes, including not only how they use and operate their home, but the components in it that may be affecting their well-being.

NAHB‘s upcoming webinar, “Wellness Wanted: Designing Healthy Multifamily Projects for Today’s Renters,” on Wednesday, May 26, at 2 p.m. ET, will explore how these components are coming into play in the multifamily arena.

Presenters Angela Harris of Trio Designs and Bobby Long of Kephart will focus on eight key areas of multifamily design:

  • Connection to the outdoors
  • Biophilia
  • Natural materials
  • Form and function: Flexibility of spaces
  • Natural light and ventilation
  • Movement
  • Community and connection
  • Nourishment

Embracing Flexibility to Build Community

Although elements such as outdoor connections and natural materials aren't new concepts, thinking about how all of these different elements come into play to create an experience for residents may be a new process for some.

“The days of us programming all the spaces in an apartment are gone,” Long observed. "We're now trying to build in as much flexibility in those nooks and crannies as we can.”

The concept of exercise, for example, isn't simply about incorporating a standalone fitness room or area for residents to use. Physical activity — or more important, promoting an active lifestyle — should extend to the entire community, whether it's flexible green space for outdoor yoga events or gathering spaces for people to meet up for different activities such as biking, hiking or kayaking.

Even spaces such as stairways and corridors can be an opportunity to create an experience for residents by incorporating lots of natural light and thinking about how these spaces are connected to the rest of the community. Prospective residents may not necessarily think about the inherent value in components such as large windows or scenic views as they walk upstairs, but they'll understand how it makes them feel as they tour the building.

Additional education on why these components are important can also be beneficial for consumers to “understand the value of what has been designed and delivered,&lrdquo; Harris noted.

Builders and designers may also want to get other industries — such as health care professionals, spa experts and manufacturers — involved in the design process and experience. Harris recalled a community event at a wellness-certified multifamily project she worked on, in which the property invited a local nutritionist to help residents not only understand how to operate the community's garden, but how to take the products from the garden to make healthy meals at home. The event was not only educational, but social as well, to create a well-rounded experience for everyone.

“This is an evolution toward a better life for all,” shared Harris. “It's awesome to see everyone coming together for the greater good, and I think we just need to keep working at it.”

Register now to learn more about how you can incorporate health and wellness components into your next multifamily project.

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