Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Public health / Sustainability

Building a healthy and health-creating society: Design and the environment

By Andrew Sansom 04 Sep 2020 0

Our third webinar in the series ‘Building a healthy and health-creating society’, organised in partnership with Lord Nigel Crisp, author of the new book, ‘Health is made at home, hospitals are for repairs’, attracted listeners from across the globe – all eager to gain knowledge about the relationship between the design of the built environment, the influence of natural environment, and human and planetary health and wellbeing.


This insightful debate, ‘Design and the environment’, highlighted the vital role that architects, designers, planners and their clients all have to play in creating health and wellbeing. Indeed, the importance of both the natural and built environment has been reinforced through our experience of Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdown.
Access to a green environment, daylight and “healthy” housing for all ages and stages of life are vital, as our health is intimately linked to the health of our societies and the health of the planet.

The discussion brought together experts from different fields to discuss how high-quality design, planning, creativity and a focus on sustainable development can enhance our health – and how everyone has a role to play in creating health and a better society.

The panel included:


  • Chris Liddle, chairman of Covalent Group; director of HLM Architects


  • Fiona Howie, chief executive of the Town and Country Planning Association
  • Sir Muir Gray, founder of Optimal Ageing and former chief knowledge officer of the English NHS
  • Sunand Prasad, founder and principal, Penoyre & Prasad; past president, Royal Institute of British Architecture
  • Dr Olivia Chapple, founder and chair of Horatio’s Garden
  • Lord Nigel Crisp, independent crossbench member, House of Lords; former CEO of the NHS in England, 2000-2006.

The webinar was kindly supported by Willmott Dixon, which has a particular interest in how the design and environment of healthcare buildings can promote health and wellbeing. It has developed ‘cura’, a flexible pre-designed community hub that promotes integrated health and care in the community, creating a sense of place and making services more accessible to the communities they serve. The hub was developed with architect Penoyre & Prasad to provide a new generation of pre-designed community healthcare facilities to drive cost efficiency and encourage better collaboration of health and social care services under one roof.

The webinar series follows on from the launch of Health is made at home, hospitals are for repairs, a new book authored by Lord Nigel Crisp, former chief executive of the NHS, in which he tells the stories of the ‘health creators’. These are the people all over the UK who are tackling the causes of today’s major health problems – loneliness, stress, obesity, poverty and addictions – in their homes, workplaces and communities.