Printed from : The Leisure Media Co Ltd

29 Jun 2016

Can placemaking help architects create wellness communities?
BY Kim Megson

Can placemaking help architects create wellness communities?

The chair of the Global Wellness Institute’s Wellness Communities Initiative has urged architects and developers to embrace placemaking to ensure people live healthy and happy lives.

Mia Kyricos told CLAD that owners and operators of wellness-driven businesses “have an amazing opportunity to be a part of a new frontier” considering people’s needs every day of their life, and not just when they're on holiday.

“Like it or not, wellness is no longer just about the places we encourage consumers to visit, but instead about where they call home,” she said. “We can help consumers better connect to the communities within which they live and our businesses can potentially thrive at the heart of them.

“In my mind, ‘placemaking’ is ultimately rooted in making mindful connections with the world that surrounds you and with one another. And if you consider the ‘placelessness’ that’s seemingly powered much of the master-planned real estate developments of recent history – all with little consciousness of the world that surrounds them – it’s easy to draw this distinction.”

Kyricos – who is also president and CEO of Kyricos & Associates, a firm providing strategic guidance to hospitality, tourism and lifestyle companies – criticised resort developments that “cleverly tap into the marketing benefits associated with a world gone mad for all things ‘well’” without actually attempting to offer something that truly creates a sense of wellness.

She said: “If we consider the concept of a wellness community – which the Initiative defines as a place proactively developed with the holistic health of its residents, guests, local community and environment in mind – I’m not sure it’s necessarily about being green, active, sustainable or even agricultural, although those are certainly sound pillars worth advocating for. Instead I believe it’s about being consciously connected to the people, environment and activities that comprise it.”

The Global Wellness Institute estimates that wellness lifestyle real-estate represents about US$100bn of the US$3.4tn global wellness marketplace.

Wellness communities currently being created include Sangha in China, designed by architects Tsao & McKown; Serenbe in Georgia, Atlanta by Marie and Steve Nygren; and an urban neighbourhood in Tampa, Florida backed by Delos.

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