35% of people in the United States are obese with an additional 34% being overweight. Even more disturbing is that 17% of children are also obese. Most of the obesity crisis is caused by a general lack of exercise and poor diet among people in the United States.
According to Robert Ivy, the Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Architects, architects and planners can offer a solution to this problem by creating health-centered buildings and neighborhoods. As Chief Executive Officer of the American Institute of Architects, Robert Ivy is shifting the organization’s resources to aid in the development of public health-focused buildings and infrastructure.
From hospitals with areas that allow recovering patients to engage in physical activity to public parks that encourage residents in the area to get out and walk more, Robert Ivy has many ideas to improve public health and thinks architects can truly make a difference by working with health experts and public officials. Even things like having public schools with more natural lighting to help students stay focused can help with the public health crisis. There are already cities being impacted by this initiative.
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In Cleveland, Ohio, the MetroHealth Medical Center is leading the way in making their city a healthier place. Not only are they making changes to the hospital itself, they are morphing the surrounding area into a more health-conscious environment. Not only are they planning on involving the community with seminars, music festivals, and clinics, they are renovating surrounding parks and fitness centers. To combat the problem of poor access to healthy food, MetroHealth has been acquiring fresh fruits and vegetables from local, urban farmers for their healthy food initiatives. They hope to make good food as accessible as fast food.
Robert Ivy received his education at the University of the South of Sewanee, Tennessee and Tulane University with a B.A. in English a Master’s degree in Architecture. He graduated the University of the South cum laude and was an honorary member of Tau Sigma Delta at Tulane. Along with improving public health, Robert Ivy has an interest in providing disaster relief both by designing architecture that can withstand these disasters and by using his resources to aid in recovery.
The architectural fraternity Alpha Rho Chi named him a “Master Architect” in 2010, at the time he was the only one named a master architect in the 21st Century. The Crane Award was bestowed upon Robert Ivy in 2009 by the American Business Media, the highest honor they can give. He is also a published author having written Fay Jones: Architect.