Public spaces & wellness

Public Spaces & Wellness


At IAM, we explore the way public space design in our communities can influence wellbeing. We believe it takes a multidisciplinary approach to tackle designing healthy public spaces – and ultimately, healthy cities.  We believe there’s potential to renew mental health policies, best practices and design guidelines as they relate to cities and urban environments, creating dialogue between and for developers, planners and municipal, provincial and federal policy makers. We believe One that uses and considers mental wellness and social and economic determinants of health as critical factors in how we redesign public spaces and built environments. A holistic approach using upstream determinants – better housing, nutrition, psychological supports, early childhood needs, income, activity/walkability and more.

Our recent work in this area includes:

Light Therapy

Working with Museum of Contemporary Art in Toronto (MOCA), IAM evaluated a light therapy installation by artist Apolonija Šušteršič, the first of its kind in North America. In particular, it looks at the effect on museum patrons to determine whether such spaces can help people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or other related depressive symptoms. This is the first large scale light installation used as a wellness intervention, with evidence helping to better understand the potential for scaling in other public spaces, such as retail or recreational centers.

Through our work with MOCA we found that light therapy can improve mental wellbeing by:

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       Lifting Mood                             Reducing Social Isolation                       Fostering Mental Health Conversations


Community Space Redesign
IAM is currently partnering with other community agencies to explore design of their public spaces for improved wellbeing (e.g. Scadding Court Community Centre).

Interested in learning more or want to book a physical space design consult? Please email [email protected]