What is EBD?

“Evidence-Based Design (EBD) is the process of basing decisions about the built environment on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

The Center for Health Design

Or in our own words, Evidence-Based Design is the use of quantitative, and sometimes qualitative, research to design environments that facilitate health and improve outcomes. In some settings, design based on intuition or common sense is fine. But when it comes to creating spaces for specific people with specific needs (and where the space is designed for a specific outcome or result), design must be based on sound research.

Here are some good resources
Have a resource to add? Let us know.

Four of the best online, searchable resources for articles are:

Free searchable database of articles on architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, city planning, and other areas of environmental design. This is a free resource, but donations are welcome.

Research Design Connections
“Research Design Connections (RDC) distills the essence of high-quality recent research and translates it from “science-ease” into everyday language. We share this information with subscribers in a quarterly electronic newsletter and in our archive of past articles.” Note that one must have a subscription to be able to access the RDC database.

The Center for Health Design
www.healthdesign.org You must be a member to access Ripple Database, but you can still search generally and find some information

American Horticultural Therapy Association
You need to be a member to search their database of articles


A Visual Reference for Evidence-Based Design, by Jain Malkin
“Includes a discussion and definition of EBD and how it dovetails with challenging issues of patient care, quality improvement, patient safety and infection control issues.” Focuses on indoor architecture, but there is enough about outdoor space and contact with nature to make this worth reading and having as a reference.

Evidence-Based Healthcare Design, by Rosalyn Cama (2009). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Reviewed by Debra D. Harris in Health Environments Research & Design (HERD), 2009, Vol, 2, No. 4, pp. 132-135.
Click here to read part of the review.

Evidence-based Design for Multiple Building Types, by Kirk D. Hamilton (2009). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Evidence-based Design for Multiple Building Types starts out by making a clear statement of its bias and point of view. Architects are losing market share to a plethora of other specialists in the building industry, particularly to professionals who have a better understanding of users’ needs and client requirements.” (From website cited below.)
For further description: http://www.worldhealthdesign.com/Book-review-Evidence-based-design-for-multiple-building-types.aspx
To purchase book: http://www.amazon.com/Evidence-Based-Design-Multiple-Building-Types/dp/0470129344/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1311262151&sr=8-1

A Practitioner’s Guide to Evidence-Based Design, by Debra D. Harris, Anjali Joseph, Franklin Becker, D. Kirk Hamilton, Mardelle McCuskey Shepley, and Craig Zimring
“This 98-page guide is an easy-to-use tool for evidence-based design (EBD) practitioners or those looking to become EBD practitioners. Additionally, it serves as a guide on how to use evidence in design projects, and conduct research to assess effectiveness of design projects. This book focuses on practice based research as opposed to academic research.”

EDAC (Evidence-Based Design Accreditation & Certification Program) Study Guides (through the Center for Health Design)
Volume 1: “An Introduction to Evidence-Based Design: Exploring Healthcare and Design
Volume 2: “Building the Evidence-Base: Understanding Research in Healthcare Design
Volume 3: “Integrating Evidence-Based Design: Practicing the Healthcare Design Process

Healing Gardens: Therapeutic Benefits and Design Recommendations, Eds. Clare Cooper Marcus and Marni Barnes
Chapters on gardens in acute care general, children’s, nursing homes, hospices, psychiatric hospitals, and more. Each chapter has a historicalal overview, literature review, case studies, and design recommendations. Also chapters on theory and research and practical ideas on fundraising and construction.

The Healing Landscape: Therapeutic Outdoor Environments, by Martha Tyson
“Gives design and health care professionals the tools to assess therapeutic goals for garden users and to plan, design, construct, and evaluate gardens that best serve these healing needs.” Combines theory and practical solutions.

Healing Spaces: The Science and Place of Well-Being, by Esther Sternberg, M.D.
A neuroscientist’s perspective on the power of our environment to influence our health and well-being, with a strong emphasis on the importance of nature.

Interaction by Design: Bringing People and Plants Together for Health and Well-Being, Ed. Candice Shoemaker
Proceedings from the 2000 International Symposium. An excellent broad view with contributions from stellar researchers and practitioners.

Social and Therapeutic Horticulture: Evidence and Messages from Research, by Joe Sempik, Jo Aldridge, and Saul Becker (can be bought on the AHTA website)
“Analysis of 131 texts presented in this review provides evidence on the outcomes and effectiveness of horticulture and gardening in a number of different therapeutic settings and with different groups of people. The review presents this evidence and draws it together to create a synthesis and a model that will help to explain the processes and outcomes.”


HERD – Health Environment Research Design Journal (published by the Center for Health Design)
Generally more focused on architecture, but they do usually have one or two articles about or that at least touch on interaction with nature.

Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture (published by the American Horticultural Therapy Association)
A professional journal providing information on HT research, professional issues, conference abstracts, and more. Excellent resource for horticultural therapists, designers, educators, and others interested in the interaction of people, plants, and nature.

For a list of organizations, visit the Related Organizations page