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Designing and Building with Healthier Materials

Parsons School of Design via FutureLearn


Explore your role in creating a healthier built environment

The built environment is all around us, and we are constantly exposed to chemicals through the materials we wear, eat, or live in.

On this three-week course, you’ll investigate the impacts of building materials on our health and surroundings.

You’ll delve into your role as an occupant, designer, or advocate to help you gain knowledge on how you can champion for a healthier built environment.

Unpack the use of industrial chemicals in building materials

You’ll explore the potential effects that chemicals in materials have on our health to help you better understand the communities and populations that are most vulnerable.

With this knowledge, you’ll learn how to evaluate building materials based on human health outcomes, and explore how healthier design approaches can benefit occupants.

Explore healthy and sustainable building materials

You’ll delve into what makes a healthier building material as you explore healthier design approaches and how this contributes to sustainability.

Next, you’ll uncover the role of the occupant and those working on a design project in creating healthier built environments. This will help you understand the strategies needed to implement healthier materials into the built environment.

Learn from the specialists at Parsons School of Design

Having gained knowledge of the strategies and guiding principles for designers, you’ll explore the future of healthier building practices.

Guided by the experts at Parsons School of Design’s Healthy Materials Lab, you’ll finish the course with the knowledge of how healthier buildings benefit both people and planet, and how to advocate for healthier materials in the built environment.

This course is designed for anyone interested in health and sustainability in the built environment.

You may work in the industry or you’re simply passionate about the health of populations and the planet.


  • Healthier Materials and Human Health
    • Welcome to the Course!
    • What Are Healthier Materials?
    • The Relationship Between Building Materials and Human Health
    • Impacts of Industrial Chemicals on Human Health
    • Week 1 Wrap up
  • Healthier Materials and Building Practices
    • Week 2 Introduction
    • Chemistry’s Relevance to Building Materials and Human Health
    • Industrial Chemicals Associated with Building Materials
    • Strategies and Guiding Principles for Designers
    • Week 2 Wrap-Up
  • Healthier Materials and Sustainability
    • Week 3 Introduction
    • Healthier Design Approaches
    • The Role of Occupants
    • Envisioning Healthier Built Environments
    • Course Wrap-Up

Taught by

Alison Mears


3.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 3 ratings

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