Buying a home can be arduous.  You aren’t just searching for the perfect home, you are searching for much more— neighbors, a neighborhood, a lifestyle — an environment that can either enhance or hinder your health and wellbeing.  The Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness Communities Initiative (WCI) hosted a roundtable at Steelcase in New York last week to discuss how a community’s design can promote wellness.  We have included a watch list below of key elements for you to evaluate in your own community.

What is a Wellness Community?

Wellness Communities, as defined by the Global Wellness Institute, are “communities and buildings proactively developed with the holistic health of its residents, guests, environment — both natural and built — and local community in mind.” 

A Seat at the Table

Mediated by WCI chair, Mia Kyricos, 18 thought leaders from around the globe including Vera Iconica’s founder, Veronica Schreibeis Smith, met to discuss and define the aspects of a community fabric that support health and wellbeing. 

Below are key elements of community design that promote resident health and wellbeing.

Tips for Developing Wellness Communities

    • Commitment to environmental consciousness demonstrated by sustainable development and operating practices.
    • Commitment to holistic health demonstrated by offering residents opportunities via soft programs and facilities — whether indoor or outdoor — to proactively take care of themselves and enhance their overall quality of life and well-being.
    • Commitment to social connections demonstrated by both physical and programmatic elements that foster intergenerational socialization and connectivity among fellow residents.

Programmatic & Character Aspects of a Wellness Community

    • Walking paths and trails that are safely separated from roadways
    • Communal gathering areas
    • Use of native vegetation in landscaping
    • Preservation of local ecology that simultaneously encourages humans to educate themselves and immerse themselves in the natural world
    • Play with nature (for example, through active water features)
    • Community identity through thoughtful infrastructure

Wellness Communities Community Infrastructure

Visit the Wellness Communities Initiative website and white paper to learn more.