A new report by design firm Dialog and The Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) provides an evidenced-based methodology to help design and development professionals understand the impact of their project design decisions on community wellbeing.
The research initiative was proposed to the CBoC by Dialog in 2016 to more accurately align the firm’s project work with their mission to meaningfully improve the wellbeing of communities and the environments they share. The result of the research, The Community Wellbeing Framework, is an open-ended and self-determined guide accessible for free with the invitation to share feedback and experiences to allow the CBoC and Dialog to continue to explore the benefits of designing for community wellbeing.
“By having a framework upon which our industry can define and evaluate the built environment’s contributions to community wellbeing, it empowers conversations toward a shared vision and actionable decision-making,” says Antonio Gómez-Palacio, principal at Dialog.
“Coordinating 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 wellbeing that has tangible value.”
The framework is made up of five domains, 18 indicators, and 48 metrics. The domains – social, cultural, environmental, economic, and political – form the structure of the framework and represent the dimensions of life that can affect a community’s wellbeing. The indicators are the aspects of each domain that determine the presence or absence of community wellbeing. Each indicator is informed by a series of quantifiable and qualifiable metrics that are relevant across different scales and context.
Some questions asked 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?
The framework also provides business case application with demonstrable return on investment to design for community wellbeing in workplace, academic, hospital, retail, and residential settings.
To download the report, please visit: www.dialogdesign.ca/community-wellbeing.