woman putting on running shoes in office

Active Buildings

Active Buildings is an innovative suite of projects that seeks to contribute to increasing knowledge of how building design and occupancy can enhance human health and movement, place-making, and a sense of community.

Through a range of approaches and research design methods – including capabilities-based evaluation of buildings and building occupant physical activity, ethnographic, architectural and quantitative – it has demonstrated the intersection of building ‘domains’ and ‘functionings’ that influence occupant physical activity, and the broader social, spatial and personal contexts of building design and workplace health.

Within the Active Buildings projects, the Active Workplaces initiative focused on the assessment and development of strategies (individual, environmental, policy) for increased workplace wellbeing through reduced sedentary behaviour—forming a critical response to what is widely regarded as a serious public health issue. This research included a repeat of the 2007 Public Sector Health Audit research and a comparison of results; an evaluation of Healthy Active Workplace resources; and, establishing interdisciplinary and innovative methodology for examining the impact of workplace design on sedentary behaviour.

Collectively, these projects have had a significant impact on workplace health and design research, advocacy, practice and policy. This has included engagement with HBF, Healthway, and the West Australian Local Government Association. This research has been a catalyst for the Department of Sport and Recreation WA to implement improved support for resources and initiatives for workplace health and promotion programs, and formulate and implement workplace policies related to physical activity, TravelSmart/Green Transport and nutrition.

The research is of relevance to those engaged in the production of architectural environments and evaluation tools that support physical activity—inclusive of building designers, procurers, managers and occupants.

Principal Areas of Enquiry:

Contemporary Issues
Management and Technology
Structural Adjustments and Changing Demographics

Secondary Areas of Enquiry:

Urban and Regional Planning

Lead Researchers:

Assoc. Prof. Jonine Jancey - School of Public Health, Curtin University
Professor Sarah McGann - University of Notre Dame Fremantle
Professor Marian Tye - Centre for Sport and Recreation Research
Professor Alexandra McManus - Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University
Dr Robyn Creagh - School of Built Environment, Curtin University
Dr Courtney Babb - Department of Planning and Geography, Curtin University
Dr Iain Murray - Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Curtin University

Research Team:

Krysten Blackford, Stephanie Bizjak, Dr Claire Nicholson, Leanne Tollis, Nimsiri Abhavasinghe, Rachel Pages-Oliver, Janina Hildebrand, Nicole Bowser, Dr Isaac Middle, Hayley O’Connell, Tahlia Rose

Industry Collaborators

Lauren Reid-Dornbusch, WA Centre for Health Promotion Research
Premier’s Physical Activity Taskforce (2007)

Industry Partners

Department of Sport and Recreation WA
Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA)

Project Collection

Greenstar Is Not a Physical Activity Star: Findings of a Pre-Post Building Activity Study

Architecture, Physical Activity and a Capability Evaluative Framework: Satisfaction is Not Enough

Response to Public Realm of Perry Lakes Residential Development

Stairway to Health: An Analysis for Workplace Stairs Design and Use

Workplace Building Design and Office-Based Workers’ Activity: A Study of a Natural Experiment

Application of the Occupational Sitting and Physical Activity Questionnaire (OSPAQ) to Office Based Workers

Stationary in the Office: Emerging Themes for Active Buildings

Between the User and the Building: A Review of Methods for Analysing Inhabited Space

Active Workplace Design – Case Study 1: Pre-post Relocation Study

Active Workplace Design – Case Study 2: A Cross Sectional Campus Study

Measuring, Mapping, Creating: A Mixed Method Approach to Sedentary Behaviours and Workplace Design.

Taking the Stairs Instead: The Impact of Workplace Design Standards on Health Promotion Strategies

Office-based Physical Activity and Nutrition Intervention: Barriers, Enablers, and Preferred Strategies for Workplace Obesity Prevention

The Impact of Workplace Design on Sedentary Behaviour: A Case Study

Healthy Active Workplace Initiative: An Evaluation of the Resources

Healthy Active Workplaces Project: Public Sector Audit 2010