The intent of the Health and Happiness Petal is to focus on the major conditions that must be present to create robust, healthy Communities filled with happy, productive people, rather than to address all of the potential ways that our neighborhoods and cities can compromise the human experience. Most development that occurs overlooks the requirements necessary to create a healthy and positive backdrop for our lives and instead focuses on parking counts, vehicular traffic and maximum instant property value. This Petal provides the framework for positive planning decisions at the street, block, district and community scales
Ideal Conditions and Current Limitations
The Living Community Challenge envisions nourishing, highly productive and healthful environments incorporated into indoor and outdoor spaces throughout the Community. However, even best-laid plans require acceptance and engagement by projects’ inhabitants and owners. It is difficult to ensure that places will remain vibrant over time, since sensory aspects such as air quality, thermal control, and visual comfort can easily be compromised in numerous ways. It can also be complicated to ensure optimal conditions due to the unpredictable nature of how people operate and maintain the interior and exterior spaces where they live, work and recreate.
The Community must promote frequent social connections between people and plan for the ongoing connectivity that creates a Civilized Environment for all by having adequate staff positions (either volunteer or paid) to oversee the ongoing inclusion of the following Community initiatives:
- Local food program
- Car and bike sharing program
- Transit information center
- Community tool sharing
- Community book library
- Children, teen, adult and senior art and recreation programs
- Community “Hub” for information sharing and community meetings
The Community must honor its heritage through actively protecting buildings considered to have historical significance by the local or regional historic preservation society. The Community must inventory local heritage sites or facilities and maintain a current preservation plan.
The Community must incorporate design features and strategies to promote and optimize the health and well-being of its residents. The Community must provide:
- Access for residents and occupants to either dedicated walking trails, sidewalks or pedestrian paths directly accessible from every building.
- Passive recreation in the form of parks, plazas, squares and bike trails no further than ½ mile from any point in the Community.
- Active recreation such as pools, tennis or ball courts, fitness centers, soccer/football/rugby fields or skateboard parks within ½ mile from any point in the Community, scaled appropriately to the density and population of the development.
- A health and wellness education plan applicable to every resident that is kept current on a Community website.
The Community must be designed to include elements that nurture the innate human/nature connection. The Community must engage in a minimum of one all-day exploration of the Biophilic design potential for the project. The exploration must result in a biophilic framework and plan for the Community that outlines the following:
- How the Community will be transformed by deliberately incorporating nature through Environmental Features, Light and Space, and Natural Shapes and Forms.
- How the Community will be transformed by deliberately incorporating nature’s patterns through Natural Patterns and Processes and Evolved Human-Nature Relationships.
- How the Community will be uniquely connected to the place, climate and culture through Place-Based Relationships.
- The provision of sufficient and frequent human-nature interactions, throughout the Community to connect the majority of occupants with nature directly.
The Biophilic plan must contain methods for tracking Biophilia at each phase. The plan should include historical, cultural, ecological, and climatic studies that thoroughly examine the site and context for the Community.
The Community must incorporate design features, strategies and community-based programs to ensure resilience through infrastructure, community resources and social interactions in order to weather disruptions or disasters of any type. The Community must:
Transects 5 & 6 (using the floodplain exception)
- Provide a place or places to allow 100% of residents to marshal and congregate in a dry, covered, and secure location that is out of the flood plain.
- Require that all facilities (except single-family residences) have a working back-up generator or battery back-up for emergency power needs that is located above the flood plain.
- Create, actively maintain on a yearly basis, and disseminate to all residents and tenants a disaster response plan that identifies emergency contacts and shelter locations and provides specific guidance for various types of disruption.
- Assign, train and keep current two “block captains” or building captains for every 500 residents. Captains should be highly versed in disaster response, first aid and general safety procedures. The positions may be voluntary.
- Maintain an emergency contact program tailored to the Community’s scale, such as a roster for all residents in both hard-copy and electronic forms for smaller communities.
- Have an active neighborhood watch and community program that has a mandate to look out for resident well-being and safety.
- Ensure that all sensitive infrastructures, such as lift stations, sub-stations, sewage treatment, community centers, schools and the like, are out of the flood plain.