Last month the Center for Active Design® (CfAD) announced the 2016 winners of its annual Excellence awards. An independent jury recognized twelve exemplary design and research projects from around the world that demonstrate a range of creative ways that buildings, streets, and neighborhoods can be leveraged to support healthy and engaged communities. In addition to the project awards, CfAD directors and jury members collectively identified one Thought Leadership award recognizing excellence in the field.

This year’s call for submissions emphasized a holistic understanding of health, recognizing that design can be used to address a wide range of community priorities related to physical, mental, social, and civic wellbeing. This holistic orientation is aligned with CfAD’s multi-faceted efforts to translate research into practice, and apply evidence-based design across a range of contexts and development typologies. For example, this spring CfAD launched Fitwel, a unique, low-cost, high-impact certification standard to support building occupant health and productivity through improvements to workplace design and policies. This summer, CfAD also announced “Assembly: Shaping Space for Civic Life,” a pioneering initiative funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to leverage place-based design as a tool to enhance civic engagement.

A jury of distinguished professionals with backgrounds in research, design, and urban development convened this summer to evaluate a short list of 50 Excellence award entries through a blind selection process. The process benefitted from the expertise of the following jury members: Chris Coleman, Mayor of the City of Saint Paul; Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Partner at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG); Linda Gibbs, Principal at Bloomberg Associates; Jamie Chriqui, PhD, MHS, Professor of Health Policy and Administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and David Burney, FAIA, Board Chair of the Center for Active Design, Associate Professor at the Pratt Institute.

This year’s Thought Leadership award recognizes Google for its historic and ongoing efforts to foster employee health through design. According to CfAD Executive Director Joanna Frank, “Google represents the cutting edge of design innovation to support employee health and productivity. They leverage unsurpassed data resources to track impacts, and are continually evolving new ways to cultivate a healthy workplace. Such leadership offers an aspirational model for companies everywhere, and influences CfAD’s own work as we prepare for the public rollout of Fitwel in 2017.“

Details on all winning projects can be found on the Excellence awards website: Award recipients will be recognized at the annual “Celebrate Active Design” event, which will be held the evening of October 28, 2016 at WNYC’s The Greene Space. Celebrate Active Design will be open to the public, and tickets are available via the awards website.

Editor’s note:
PRISM highlights some of the Excellence award winners below. To see details on all of the Excellence award winners, please go to the Center for Active Design: Excellence awards website PRISM expresses its gratitude to the Center for Active Design for providing the information in this article.