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Wholistic design for healthy living

featured in sb 1/2024
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Best practice of socially relevant design

published in sb 1/2024

Vivo is a charity on a mission to raise healthier generations by inspiring a wholistic mindset for healthy living. “The Hug” centre located in Calgary is an inclusive environment for healthy lifestyles and the collaboratory applies social innovation practices to co-create and measure new kinds of healthy living solutions. It serves for a young, diverse, and growing community.

From 2004 to 2019, the community has grown from 79,000 to 150,000 residents, and with new communities expanding around Vivo, it is projected to serve 200,000 over next ten years. 50% of residents identify as a visible minority such as South Asian, Chinese, Black, Arab, Korean, Japanese and Fi­lipino. 37% of the community are new to Canada. 30% of the catchment area are under the age of 29 years, and 40% of residents live in multi-generational households.

Author: Cynthia Watson, Chief Evolution Officer, Vivo for Healthier Generations Society


photo: Jason Dziver

Quality spaces


Photo: Jason Dziver

A first-of-its-kind indoor park and outdoor community “hug” serves as much needed gathering space. Knowing that there are many cultures around the work that have public water spaces as a component of community life, the aquatic expansion was inspired by a nordic-spa experience with a firepit, different temperature water basins, accessible six-lane 25-m pool, cedar dry sauna and steam rooms.

There are enhanced accessible fitness opportunities, boutique-style studios, certified LEED Gold green building strategies, and a social innovation collaboratory, so the community can continue to bring its ideas to life and much more.

The accessibility elements include things like widened sidewalks and crosswalks, tactile tiles, curb cuts and some widened parking stalls. It is the details that count when people come to places like Vivo to be able to access and move around with ease.

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