Creating outdoor settings for social support
What you carry into war is not all on your back. It is in your mind, your spirit, and in your family. The challenges of our current wars are tremendous and on-going. We are going to have to attend to the capability gaps-to build both our internal and external capacities. Even the tough are affected. You can’t put armor around the psyche or the heart. You have to build its resilience. That requires a total approach to the whole person and community”.
- Dr. Wayne Jonas, Samueli Institute
These were the opening words of Total Fitness in the 21st Century Conference at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The conference participants defined “total fitness” and began to identify the quantifiable measures that would help unit commanders to create environments that would promote that total fitness. Social capital was one of the eight domains of total fitness.
The capacity of a community to foster the building of networks of connection is called “social capital” and may provide its members with a resource that enhances ability to optimize performance and well-being. (Total Fitness for the 21st Century: Conference Report for Alternative Futures, 2009)
Positive social support has the power to improve self esteem and coping skills, increase knowledge and understanding of health and support services and encourage healthy behaviors (Landsdowne, 2011), all important outcomes for military personnel that may be affected by PTSD. (Wagenfeld et al., 2013)
The way that outdoor spaces are designed can encourage social interaction. Location, a specific layout, considerations for comfort and adjacencies all come into play in creating a setting that promotes healthy community connectivity.
Studio Sprout is an EDWOSB dedicated to evidence based site design that supports the needs of our military personell. We look forward to participating in the planning and development of your new construction projects either as the prime design contractor.