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At the Urban Land Institute’s spring meeting last week, developers, architects, planners and lenders alike highlighted the importance of healthy construction advancements and urged their colleagues to incorporate those advancements into their new developments.

According to Joanna Frank, president and CEO of the Center for Active Design, the current generation of U.S. children is the first in history to face a shorter life expectancy than their parents. Experts say that bad living environments are as much to blame as bad habits.

Speakers have highlighted the success of wellness strategies in both luxury and subsidized apartment properties, as well as the importance of applying those strategies to market-rate and “missing middle” properties. Environmental improvements include low-VOC paints and ample access to natural light, while behavioral influences include well-kept sidewalks and stairways.

“Health and wellness is a result of attending to the environment we live in,” says Howard Schlesinger of Meridian Development Partners. “The opportunity is to design and manage the quality of the air, water, nutrition, light, fitness and mindfulness we experience and calibrate the benefits to support the beneficial results.”

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