The preservation of the “quality of life” represents a fundamental challenge to investigate the future of urban space. Urban space will need to guarantee healthy, secure and comfortable places to live/work, where clean air and water, access to fertile soils and healthy food, social/territorial connectedness, accessible public transportation systems, use of sustainable and safe building materials are secured.
Today, on the contrary, the nature of the relation between urban form and health seems still largely inconclusive. EPFL’s existing research expertise represents a strong potential to develop this Research Field in an interdisciplinary manner. In this regard, developing visionary and innovative solutions implies an understanding of various socio-spatial, economic and environmental determinants of wellbeing in cities, and calls for an integrated interdisciplinary research agenda.
The main objective of this Research Field is to associate emerging research areas within the EPFL with cutting-edge approaches from the field of public health (environmental health and health promotion in particular). In practice, the activities of the Healthy Habitats Research Field have ranged from organizing trans-disciplinary conferences and workshops to submitting ambitious research projects to various Swiss and international funding schemes.
One of the landmark activities has been the presentation and introduction of the One Health concept to selected research teams within EPFL. The aim is to integrate more public health concepts into the mainstream of teaching and research, across the spectrum of environmental engineering, civil engineering, architecture, and beyond. The recent pandemic of Covid-19 makes this perspective even more urgent than before.