The Glass House Blog

Join a Glass House Conversation on Play, Health + Well-being Hosted by Joyce S. Lee

The Fort Worth Water Garden, Fort Worth, Texas, USA, designed by architect Philip Johnson. Photo courtesy of Flickr user Emily E Cline

Joyce S. Lee

Joyce S. Lee

Join our current Glass House Conversation hosted by Joyce S. Lee, FAIA, LEED AP, former Active Design director at the New York City Department of Design and Construction, where she worked to develop the Active Design Guidelines, a manual that outlines strategies to combat obesity and chronic diseases through the design of healthier buildings, streets and urban spaces. The online Conversation is based on the question:

The Glass House was a weekend retreat for Philip Johnson and a place where he explored themes of play through the design of buildings and landscapes. Johnson and guests could interact with the environment by walking, strolling and climbing, as well as enjoy the view.

Today many designers, architects and urban planners are working to create spaces that encourage play, health and well-being. From my experience, employing the practice of evidence-based design opens up a productive and informative interdisciplinary dialogue with professionals from across the fields of science, medicine, design and culture.

What does it take to create beautiful, comfortable spaces that encourage play, health and well-being?

Comments have been contributed to the Glass House Conversation by participants with a variety of backgrounds, including design, science and health professionals.

Dr. Cecily Selby asked “Who can you influence for better design solutions? More human design?” in response to Lee’s question, and  Susan Chin, Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space responded with thoughts on educating the public so that they can demand better design.

Stephanie Gleb, former VP of Planning and Design for the Battery Park City Authority responded saying “I think we need to educate the bureaucrats, not the public.” And Heejune Lee of the Design Planning Devision of the Seoul Metropolitan Government commented on the barrier created by policy makers that do not understand design in Seoul and other cities.

Charles McKinney, Principal Urban Designer at the New York City Parks Department shared information on a park that re-claims a landfill for public use, as well as the publication High Performance Landscape Guidelines: 21st Century Parks for NYC. Medical practitioners such as Dr. Edward Gross have contributed insights into the patterns that foster obesity and un-healthy lifestyles, and Joyce S. Lee has shared examples of successful places and public policies (such as the New York City smoking ban) that have paved the way for healthier cities.

Join these and other participants for an online Glass House Conversation on play, health and well-being, going on now through Sunday, May 13, at

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