Building the Future of Health


Outline Building the Future of Health

Building the Future of Health

Can the built environment help us stay healthy for longer? Can it inspire us to exercise more? Does it offer, in combination with a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition, a cure for Western diseases like obesity and diabetes? And what will our future hospitals and healthcare institutions look like? All these questions – and many more – take centre stage at the international
Building the Future of Health conference. 

Building the Future of Health is the name of a large international conference that will take place in June 2016 in Groningen, the Netherlands. It marks a fundamental development in how we think about our healthcare system and public health. If we are all really starting to (and want to) grow older and healthier, the key lies in a different, more conscious lifestyle. Eating patterns, the influences played by our surroundings, sufficient exercise and their mutual interaction play an important role. Health is then no longer simply and solely related to healthcare. Investments in the prevention of diseases are becoming more important than the continuous expansion of current medical facilities. Prevention is the magic word, as well as being a possible life buoy for the costs of healthcare, which are already rising.

Building the Future of Health puts the contribution that our built environment can provide for a good and healthy life on the agenda. This is achieved through three tracks in which various relevant aspects are up for discussion: Healthy Cities and the Built Environment, Ageing in Place, The Architecture of Hospitals. In addition, the congress presents a fourth track in which the wider context of ‘ageing healthily’ is explored. Using the Healthy Ageing concept as a starting point, Building the Future of Health presents inspiring examples from home and abroad and establishes the current state of the art in research, policy and specific projects in the field of health and the layout and design of our surroundings: from healthcare institutions and hospitals to our housing, and the layout of cities and countryside.

Due to the conviction that the best solutions come about by connecting knowledge and skills, the congress is of a highly interdisciplinary nature. For three days it offers a stimulating and inspiring environment in which designers, architects, urban planners, landscape architects, medical researchers, environmental planners, policymakers, administrators, sociologists, demographers, doctors and representatives from various other disciplines in the field of public health can meet.

Building the Future of Health is an official side event of the Dutch EU Presidency in the first half of 2016 and part of the Urban Europe Agenda. Moreover it connects to the upcoming WHO Guidelines for healthy cities.


The goal of Building the Future of Health is to set priorities, connect, attract and inspire. It presents stimulating international examples and the current state of the art in terms of research, outlooks, policy and ongoing projects. Therefore Building the Future of Health is no scientific conference. It can rather be connected with policy-making and shows how scientific research and knowledge play a role in real assignments in our cities, villages and landscape. 

The congress consciously engages with existing national and international questions, covenants, networks and investment funds. Within this context it supplies novel strategies, models and solutions which visitors can theoretically use straight away: concrete, innovative, clear and hands-on. 

The goal of the congress organization is to make clear agreements, within a European context, about support for the most promising initiatives. Aside from setting priorities and connecting knowledge and disciplines, the conference works towards a translation of new insights in the field of Healthy Ageing and health in tangible construction and design assignments on different levels: from hospitals and healthcare institutions to the layout of our landscape and our cities, districts, neighborhoods and villages. The ambition is to challenge various regions in Europe – in particular, the current Healthy Ageing Reference Sites – to ensure that the theme of the congress plays an important role within one or more existing assignments. 

The organizers of the congress hope that agreements can be made with Europe to support the most promising initiatives that emerge from this idea. This can lead to the development of tangible example projects that can assist those involved in (re)examining the built environment with the theme of health in mind. The congress will culminate in a manifesto and/or covenant in which various European municipalities and regions record their ambitions for everyday surroundings shaped with care and quality that promote an active and healthy life for all age groups.

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