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  • Writer's pictureMike Brown

Episode #23: The "New Normal"​ for Health in Real Estate

In Episode 24 of the 3P Theory podcast we explore how people can effectively transition back into the workplace as the COVID-19 crisis hopefully begins to die down over the following months. Also discussed is how building owners and managers, tenants, and other occupants can come together to find solutions to make the workplace “safe” again in the new normal.

Our guest Joanna Frank is a former real estate developer who was forced to pivot following the market crash in 2008. She found herself working for the Bloomberg administration, where her interest evolved from designing buildings to exploring the greater function of buildings and built environments. She placed her focus on how built environments, infrastructure investment, buildings, and public spaces can be best optimized for public health. She eventually played a role in the founding of the Center for Active Design in New York City.

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the Center for Active Design has planned strategies for optimizing work environments during a period when many people now work from home. The creeping effects of social isolation on mental health are being considered alongside the physical limitations of having to stay put in one place for a long period of time. A holistic approach to health is emphasized, which at first appears so basic; yet many today are unaware of how certain new habits and routines brought upon by quarantine measures are affecting them. Across the board, these habits and routines include a more sedentary lifestyle, and a heavy reliance on daily Zoom conferences.

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"Trust needs to be built between building operators, employers, and employees. "

Even if those in charge put every recommended sanitary measure into practice, they must still make sure to communicate these developments directly to everyone occupying the building. This can include things as simple as visible signage for hand washing, and enacting cleaning protocols that focus on more high-touch areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and other shared spaces.

Joanna Frank is the Founding President & CEO of the Center for Active Design (CfAD), where she advances design and development practices to foster healthy and engaged communities. CfAD is the operator of Fitwel, a unique certification system originally developed by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Fitwel has translated the global public health evidence base into practical design and operational strategies for buildings and communities to optimise health. Prior to launching CfAD, Ms. Frank worked for the City of New York during the Bloomberg Administration, where her positions included Director of Active Design and Director of the NYC FRESH program. Ms. Frank's career started in real estate development as a partner at Bright City Development, LLC where she was responsible for mixed-use residential projects that prioiritised sustainable design. Ms. Frank is a member of the Urban Land Institute's Affordable/Workforce Housing Council and an active partner in ULI's Building Healthy Places initiative.



Center for Active Design:

Resources Mentioned In This Episode:

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