HealthScapes - explainer videos

Here you can find more information about the explainer videos, including the original paper, the transcript and the sources the paper was based upon. 

HealthScapes E1


Objective:  This review explored different conceptualizations of health promotion in the context of, and in relation to, outpatient building design.


Today’s healthcare organizations are implementing holistic healthcare approaches such as health promotion, while simultaneously increasing their outpatient services. These health promotion approaches, focused on empowering people to take control of their health, are expected to have implications for the outpatient healthcare building design. Yet there is limited knowledge what these may be. A review of the literature on the current state of the art is thus needed to enable and support dialog on future healthcare building design.

Method: A scoping review of 4,506 papers, collected from four databases and three scientific journals in 2015, resulted in 14 papers relating health promotion to building design and outpatient healthcare. From the subsequent content analysis, multiple common themes and subthemes emerged.

Results: The review reveals a diverse range of health promotion interpretations, three health promotion perspectives (health behavior, health equity, and sense of coherence), associated design approaches, design objectives, health-related outcomes, building features, and solutions.

Conclusions: While diverse health promotion perspectives might merely represent variations in focus, these differences become problematic when relating to building design. To support further dialogs on development of health promotion in, and in relation to, the build environment, there is a need to strengthen the health promotion vocabulary. Further research is needed to compare different design approaches and how these can be combined to minimize contradicting implications for building design.

Keywords: building design, design approaches, health  behavior, healthcare facilities, health equity, health promotion, outpatient centers, salutogenics


Researchers showed that healthcare buildings affect health-related outcomes for patients, staff, and visitors. For instance, reduce treatment time, pain medication, errors and falls, stress, contamination, and improve collaboration, sustainability, satisfaction, and family involvement).

New hospitals therefore pay attention to which building design features affect health, such as single patient rooms with more privacy and safety, access to daylight, nature, art, clear wayfinding, and indoor environmental qualities such as acoustics, thermal comfort, fresh air.) This is often called ‘healing architecture’.

Architects have recently started branding their project as health-promotive design, is that different than healing architecture? What is health promotion or health promotive building design?


This review looked for papers which related outpatient healthcare, building design and aspects of health promotion. 3 journals and 4 databases were searched, and 4507 papers were found. These papers’ titles were checked to see if they were relevant to the search. We found 615 relevant papers. Their abstracts were read and checked for relevance. 160 papers were read completely, and only 14 papers fit all inclusion criteria. In those papers we looked for definitions and perspectives on health promotion, as well as health-promotive building design.


We found that papers related to healthy behaviours, health equity, salutogenic, or a combination of them. We also found that the papers mainly talked about stress reduction and to a lesser extent to other health outcomes. The papers were mainly focused on building users, such as patients, staff, visitors, and in few cases to the community. Lastly, none of the papers used the term ‘health promoting building design’; they did mention a combination of design approaches including user-, health-, or sustainability-centred design.

So, no healing architecture is not the same as health-promotive building design; more about that in the next video.


This animation was initiated by Elke Miedema who was inspired by Ben van Wijk and his explainer videos. Elke Miedema choose the topic, developed the storyline, wrote the transcript and recorded the audio. Ben van Wijk made the storyboards, the graphic style, sound editing and created the final animation. The original research was done in collaboration with Marie Elf  and Göran Lindahl. 

The work has been partly funded by FORUM vårdbyggnad which is the Swedish Health Care Facilities Network that (1) provides a forum for organizations and professionals who work with health care facilities; (2) support, stimulate and inform about research, development and higher education, and (3) aim to promote good environments for health care. Thank you for your contribution to this idea. 

Table of Contents