The International Well Building Institute (IWBI) has officially launched the WELL Community Standard – designed to help set up a new global benchmark for healthy communities.
A rating system centered on human health and wellness, the new standard takes into consideration evidence-based research and has been developed through consultation with physicians, scientists and public health professionals, as well as architects, city planners and engineers.
The programme builds on the principles of the WELL Building Standard, a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment which impact the human experience.
The new standard aims to set a new precedent for planning, building and development by providing a “thorough understanding” of how communities can employ actionable strategies and interventions to support the health and wellbeing of residents across all aspects of community life.
The WELL Community Standard will focus on 10 core concepts of performance that impact human health and wellness – air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, temperature, sound, materials, mind and community.
Launched on 5 September, a total of five projects have already registered their interest in achieving the new standard.
One of these is the US$3bn (€2.5bn, £2.3bn) Water Street Tampa project in Tampa, US, led by developer Strategic Property Partners (SPP).
SPP is a joint venture between Cascade Investment – Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ investment fund – and entrepreneur Jeff Vinik, owner of the National Hockey League franchise Tampa Bay Lightning and Arena Football League team Tampa Bay Storm.
Located in the heart of downtown Tampa, the 53-acre scheme intends to revitalise the surrounding area and create an urban, mixed-use waterfront district consisting of more than 9m sq ft of new commercial, residential, hospitality, cultural, entertainment, education and retail use.
Other projects seeking to achieve the new standard are the Shanghai EXPO Urban Best Practices Area, a legacy project of the Shanghai 2010 EXPO; Gulf of Greenland, a 800-acre project in Ningbao, Zhejiang, China; Belief Regression by Zhongnan Group, an 18-acre healthy community project in Langfang, Hebei, China; and Kearny Point, a redevelopment project of a historical shipyard in New Jersey, US.
"We are excited to see such early enthusiasm for the WELL Community Standard,” said IWBI chair and CEO Rick Fedrizzi.
“The significant uptake speaks to the WELL Community Standard’s revolutionary capacity to enhance people’s health and quality of life on the widest scale to date.
“These projects are true pioneers who are demonstrating their desire to be at the cutting edge of what I call ‘the second wave of sustainability.”
The US-based IWBI is a public benefit corporation aiming to lead the movement to promote health and wellness in buildings and communities globally.