Health Cultures: Designing healthcare infrastructures as urban interfaces for society participation

Liesbeth Huybrechts, Katrien Dreessen, Irma Földényi, Daniela Dossi


This paper - based on the participatory design research project ‘Health Cultures, Healthcare and Multiculturalism’ - reflects on how we can redesign healthcare infrastructures as urban interfaces for citizens from different cultural backgrounds to participate more actively in society. The project investigates the health care systems and institutions of care in action, and how they develop within the context of a growing multicultural society and the declining welfare state. Via a design anthropological research in different health-related contexts within the city of Genk (Belgium), wherein 54% of the inhabitants come from foreign descent, we studied how these environments function as interfaces for inhabitants’ societal participation and how design can contribute. Based on these findings, we created a tool that supports a critical public debate on the changing role of healthcare in society participation. We also designed future scenarios for healthcare infrastructures as urban interfaces that mediate between more diverse ‘Health Cultures’.

Full Text: