Great architecture is easy on the eyes, but it turns out it can also be great for your health!

The Department of Design and Construction in NYC has developed the Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design. The guidelines are intended for architects, urban planners and designers.

The premise of the manual is that our living environments give us cues about how to live. Do you take the stairs or the elevator? Do you bike or drive to work?

We make these decisions every day, and they can significantly impact our health.

The guidelines help give designers the tools to plan cities and buildings that encourage people to make healthy lifestyle choices.

And, the suggestions are surprisingly simple and easy to implement.

For example, the guidelines suggest encouraging stair use by designing appealing and comfortable stairs that are conveniently located. It also recommends that architects design exteriors that contribute to pedestrian use and include maximum variety and transparency. As for indoor spaces, the guidelines stress the importance of providing accessible facilities that support exercise.

As much as architecture can encourage people to make better choices, it is ultimately up to us to make healthy decisions.

We’re definitely going to take the stairs today!

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