Elke Miedema PhD
As an architect, researcher, educator (and building engineer) I love complexity and empowerment as part of design, research and education. This personal portfolio website showcases an overview of my work. – Elke
Currently, I am supervisor at TU Delft Department of Architecture in the graduation course (Msc3/4) Design for Health & Care. Together with the colleagues and students, we discuss the spatial conditions needed for networks of health-promoting health & care. Besides my work at the TU Delft, I work at Proof of the sum, an architectural firm in Amsterdam focused on creating environments that support knowledge development. My practice-reserach focuses on reflecting on the designs that have been used some years and see how the design ambitions work in practice (POE). With the time left I am the leader of the taskforce on Health-Promoting Building Design as part of the International Network of Health Promoting Hospitals and Healthcare services and work as part of HealthScapes as an in depended research on design for health/care.
Popular summary of my PhD research
June 2020, I defended my PhD thesis in Architecture titled ‘Health-Promotive Building Design – Exploring perspectives on building design for health promotion in healthcare settings’. Here you can find the popular science summary.
It was already known that the design of hospitals is important for healthcare. Plus, the built environment is important for a society that focuses on health promotion. However, this thesis showed that it is not clear what health promotion means in the field of healthcare building design. The results also showed that it is unclear, for people who work with health promotion in healthcare, how the built environment can contribute to health promotion. This makes it difficult to understand as a designer what you should think of in terms of health promotion. This can even lead to buildings that hinder health promotion approaches in the future.
The dissertation collected different ideas about the design of health-promoting hospitals. More precisely, we have studied health promotion and care architecture as presented in the literature and with people involved in a building design project. The studies shows health promotion, in relation to health promotion in healthcare, can mean many different things. For example health promotion can refer to stimulating healthy behaviours, such as physical activity, social interaction or healthy nutrition. The health-promotive design of the building then could mean attractive and visible stairs, diverse spaces to socialise, or education kitchens to lear to cook a healthy meal. Below you can find a short explainer video of some of my work.
This research is particularly important now as many healthcare buildings need to be renovated or rebuilt, often with public funds. This makes it important to publicly discuss what these healthcare buildings should look like, how they can support healthcare, and how they can contribute to healthier communities. The primary audience are the people who are involved in the design of healthcare buildings. The results can support people who work with health promotion to incorporate the built environment in their ideas. The results hopefully result in improved healthcare buildings that play a role in the development of healthier communities. Future research should focus on the testing these health-promotive perspectives and linking them to different building design approaches.
The research was financed by FORMAS, part of AIDAH project (2013-2019) and in collaboration with the Centre for Healthcare Architecture.