Health Matters: a report from Greenbuild including a William McDonough + Partners leader

Kira Gould, director of communications for William McDonough + Partners, spoke at the U.S. Green Building Council’s Greenbuild conference in Philadelphia. She was on a panel in the Master Speakers series, following a keynote by Dr. Richard Jackson.

Here are excerpts from an article on the event:

Dr. Richard Jackson, professor and chair of environmental health sciences at UCLA, attributes America’s most prevalent health problems—childhood and adult obesity, diabetes, depression and heart disease—as direct results of the space we live in, which has come to be dominated by the automobile. … “No drug works better than walking,” he says. “When you think about sustainable communities, they must be walkable. High-quality dense environments are good for your carbon footprint, but they are also good for your health.” …“Public health is how we advance and deal with the causes of death,” Jackson says. “You can’t be siting in the ER waiting for someone to show up. You have to move upstream.” …

Kira Gould, co-author of Women in Green: Voices of Sustainable Design and director of communications at William McDonough + Partners, agrees that there is something wrong when doctors and drugs are the first things that come to mind when thinking about health.

“It is impossible to ignore the connection between health and the built environment,” Gould says. “The context in which we live should be seen as the macro definition of public health. Along the same line, we should see sustainability as life, rather than a technological fix.”

Gould is optimistic and points out that you can gauge the speed at which the industry adopts healthy building practices by listening closely at Greenbuild. Last year a major topic was transparency in building materials. This year there was talk that transparency is not enough.


Here’s a link to Multi-Housing News’s full story about the keynote and panel.

You can also find a video of this Master Speaker session here.

…and a link to ALL the Master Speaker sessions here here.