Vital by Design

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In less than twenty years there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 19 – that is, more older adults than children and teenagers. This age swing already exists in places like Sarasota, Florida, where there are more people 85 years and older than children under the age of 6.

The Vital by Design Initiative (VBI) addresses the challenge of facing an aging society with current systems and environments in place that were not built or created with an aging population in mind.  VBI is a member of the first cohort of the AIA’s Consortium of Health and Design Research.

The faculty, students and community partners associated with VBI are conducting and translating research to craft design and policy strategies that improve occupant safety, environmental quality, active living and social connectedness in the myriad of residential settings occupied by older adults.

High-performance buildings are typically associated with energy, water, and resource efficiency.  We intend to shift this paradigm to also include high-performance buildings and community infrastructure for occupant health.

VBI’s first-year activities associated with the AIA Consortium are described here.  Below are listings of UF faculty and graduate students involved in the VBI Initiative, and links to publications.   For further information about the initiative, please contact Sherry Ahrentzen.

Core UF Faculty and Centers

PhD Students


Community Partners

  • The Village at Gainesville
  • Cathedral Terrace, Jacksonville


Key Publications and Reports by VBI Faculty and Graduate Students

Active Living


Environmental Quality




Social Connectedness


Affiliated Publications and Reports


Work In Progress

Project Re-envision

Active residential living environments for an aging population: Case Studies from North America and Europe (book chapter).  Contact:  Dr. Ruth Steiner

Spatial analysis of patient hospital falls in Veteran’s Administration Medical Centers (proposal).  Contact: Dr. Ronald Shorr

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