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This month we look at the issue of health in towns and cities. It's on every urbanists agenda, but what does a healthy urban environment look like and what can we do to replicate the key ingredients elsewhere?  

Health and Placemaking: Learning from Practice and Research
Professor Georgia Butina Watson, Oxford Brookes University

Professor Butina Watson will introduce some of the key definitions and parameters of what healthy urban environments look like. This will be discussed using UK and international practice and research-based examples at various morphological levels and scales: city-wide; neighbourhood; street and open space levels; and housing. The presentation will conclude with some generic principles for achieving healthy place-making.

Designing places for health and wellbeing
Charlotte Savage, Associate Urban Designer, Savills Urban Design Studio

The topic of health and well-being has been brought to the forefront of public attention in recent years. In particular through the Covid 19 pandemic, as well as what is often called the mental health pandemic. As place practitioners we must ensure that we create environments that feeds the mind, body and soul. We need to create environments that cater for all ages and abilities. We also need to ensure places also deliver opportunities for healthy lifestyles through walkable environments, the creation of active and tranquil spaces, as well as access to fresh air, fresh food and new experiences.  The presentation will examine how the design of place influences health and wellbeing and how, as practitioners, we can make a difference in the design of new and renewed places.


Professor Georgia Butina Watson
Oxford Brookes University

Georgia Butina Watson is Professor  of Urban Design in the School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University. She is also Academician and Regional Convenor of the Academy of Urbanism (Oxford region), and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She was Head of Department of Planning and Urban Design at Oxford Brookes University and chaired various UK Research committees and jury panels including the National Urban Design Group Book Awards scheme.

Georgia has extensive teaching, research and consultancy experience in urban planning and urban design. Her key research and consultancy projects include the work on sustainable, resilient  and healthy cities;  urban regeneration; community  engagement and development; planning and design of new towns; placemaking and place-identity; and perceptual and cognitive experience of places with different age groups, including elderly residents and young people. She has also been research advisor and consultant to various UK and international bodies at National and Local Government levels. Her recent work includes Urban Retrofitting for Sustainability-2050 (Sustainable Urban Environments Programme); Process Evaluation of Healthy New Towns programme; Healthy Urban Mobility comparing UK and Brazilian Cities; Oxford to Cambridge ARC (Jury member for the ideas competition) and is engaged a longitudinal study of the open space strategy in South Islington, London.

She has published and co-authored a number of journal articles, research reports and books including:  Architecture and the City; Designing Sustainable Cities in the Developing World; Identity by Design; Sustaining Cities; Urban Retrofitting for Sustainability and Designing Resilient Cities and Neighbourhoods.

Charlotte Savage
Associate Urban Designer, Savills Urban Design Studio

Charlotte is a Senior member of the Urban Design team with dual qualifications in Architecture and Urban Design, with wide-ranging experience in master-planning strategic mixed-used urban extensions and new settlements.

Charlotte’s background education in both architecture and urban design provide a strong skill set for place-making and design over a variety of different scales.Charlotte has experience in working on projects ranging from 2 to 3,000 units. Including the production of strategic frameworks, illustrative masterplans and supporting documentation, as well as organising public consultation events and community workshops.

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