Travelling by bus, boat and bike, a group of international journalists were introduced to Danish healthcare architecture.
Our annual international press visit focused on how the architects in Aarhus and the Central Denmark Region work with local authorities and many other stakeholders to create the best framework for public health – and how this keeps the citizens out of the hospitals.
The tour was far from just showcasing great architecture; instead the aim was to explore how health policy and holistic urban planning can ensure better public health.
Movement is king
In Aarhus and the Central Region Denmark, a major focus area in the city planning is to make it easy and attractive to move: So-called super bike paths and circular bike lanes give vulnerable road users access to the centre of Aarhus. Running and cycling routes and exercise areas at the lakes and around the cities. And in the city of Viborg, climate proofing, nature conservation, and the opportunity to exercise have been combined in the recreative climate park, Sønæs. New residential areas are built close to forest and water in order to make movement attractive.
It all works pretty well. And so we transfer some of the many millions of euros, Denmark is annually spending on diabetes treatment and other lifestyle-related diseases, to the prevention budget – for the benefit not only of those who are at risk of diabetes and the like, but for all citizens in the Region.
However, the journalists did get a chance to visit more ‘traditional’ health architecture – not aimed at prevention – such as the New University Hospital in Aarhus (C.F. Møller), Hospice Djursland (C.F. Møller) and The Danish Cancer Society’s counseling center Hejmdal (Frank Gehry in collaboration with Cubo Architects).