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Designing and Building with Healthier Materials

Discover the impact of building materials on human health and the environment, and learn how to make healthier material choices.

353 enrolled on this course

An interior courtyard of a building is shown. The building is concrete and glass, with tables in the courtyard with green chairs. There is a tree overhead and greenery throughout the courtyard

Designing and Building with Healthier Materials

353 enrolled on this course

  • 3 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

Find out more about how to join this course

  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours
  • 100% online

    How it works
  • Unlimited subscription

    $189.99 for one yearLearn more

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.

Syllabus

  • Week 1

    Healthier Materials and Human Health

    • Welcome to the Course!

      Welcome to Week 1! It's time to find out what you'll learn about this week. You'll also have the chance to meet your instructors and introduce yourself to your fellow learners.

    • What Are Healthier Materials?

      In this activity, we will take a look at why it’s important for us to consider using healthier materials. We’ll see how materials affect us, and due to that, why we should advocate for healthier materials use.

    • The Relationship Between Building Materials and Human Health

      In this activity, we’ll put risk into context. We’ll consider how the life cycle of materials impacts people. We’ll then look at how designers, and you, can work with communities.

    • Impacts of Industrial Chemicals on Human Health

      In this activity, we will look at how chemicals get into our bodies, and what happens once they’re there. We’ll then take a look at some common chemicals you may come into contact with.

    • Week 1 Wrap up

      Here’s your chance to reflect on what you’ve learned so far in Week 1 of Designing and Building with Healthier Materials.

  • Week 2

    Healthier Materials and Building Practices

    • Week 2 Introduction

      Welcome to Week 2! Let’s take a look at what you can expect to learn about this week.

    • Chemistry’s Relevance to Building Materials and Human Health

      In this activity, we’ll take a look at why chemistry is relevant to building materials and how it influences human health. We’ll see some risks to the global community and consider the toxicology of building materials.

    • Industrial Chemicals Associated with Building Materials

      In this activity, you’ll learn about chemical classification and how each class relates to materials and human health. You’ll look at some case studies to learn about hazards and building materials.

    • Strategies and Guiding Principles for Designers

      In this activity, you will learn more about how designers make informed decisions. We’ll walk you through the education phase, goal phase, pre-search, and search phases.

    • Week 2 Wrap-Up

      Here’s your chance to reflect on what you’ve learned so far in Week 2 of Designing and Building with Healthier Materials.

  • Week 3

    Healthier Materials and Sustainability

    • Week 3 Introduction

      Welcome to Week 3! This is the final week of Designing and Building with Healthier Materials. Let’s see what you can expect to learn this week.

    • Healthier Design Approaches

      Learn about healthier design approaches.

    • The Role of Occupants

      In this activity, you will learn what happens when a project is turned over to occupants, and what their role is in building health. We’ll consider some hidden hazards.

    • Envisioning Healthier Built Environments

      In this activity, you’ll do some visioning for healthier built environments. We’ll consider the new generation and how we can use the past as inspiration for the future.

    • Course Wrap-Up

      Here’s your chance to reflect on what you’ve learned in Designing and Building with Healthier Materials.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain the relationship between building materials and human health
  • Evaluate building materials based on human health outcomes
  • Assess how healthier design approaches impact occupants
  • Debate what can be done to develop healthier environments
  • Identify the relationship between building materials and human health
  • Explore how healthier design approaches impact occupants and what can be done to develop healthier environments

Who is the course for?

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.

Who will you learn with?

I am co-Director of Parsons Healthy Materials Lab in New York. See our work at
healthymaterialslab.org and keep in touch at https://healthymaterialslab.org/email-signup

Catherine, has led educational programming at Parsons Healthy Materials Lab since 2015. She also teaches at Columbia GSAPP and The New School.
https://healthymaterialslab.org/email-signup

Who developed the course?

Parsons School of Design

For more than a century, Parsons School of Design has been inspired by the transformative potential of design. Today, the school’s groundbreaking academic programs carry forward that mission, making Parsons the number one design school in the U.S. and among the top three globally. At the heart of a comprehensive university — The New School — Parsons draws on a range of academic fields to deliver a uniquely interdisciplinary education enriched by the resources of its home in New York City

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$189.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$69/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access

Free

Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 2 Mar 2023

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Sale price available until 28 February 2023 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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