Center for Active Design: COVID-19 Implications for Mental Health, Density & Equity

COVID-19 and Holistic Health

The physical symptoms of COVID-19 are widely known and discussed, yet the pandemic’s spread has negatively affected many other aspects of our well-being. Social isolation, widespread mental health challenges, and glaring inequities have further deepened the challenges of this pandemic in communities around the globe.

Here in the U.S., over 50% of adults have reported negative mental health effects related to COVID-19. [1] Data also indicates that Black and Latinx populations are experiencing a disproportionate burden of disease. [2] Fundamentally, COVID-19 is revealing systemic weaknesses—as well as points of resiliency—in the ways we design, plan, and invest in our communities.

In this uniquely challenging moment, built environment professionals have an essential role to play in promoting holistic health outcomes. In order to provide guidance using the best available evidence to date, the Center for Active Design is pleased to announce the release of the final three chapters in our latest resource series, Research to Action: Building Health for All® in the Face of COVID-19.

  • Chapter 3: Addressing Mental Health Within Residential Settings provides practical, evidence-based strategies for promoting mental and emotional well-being in residential communities, particularly in times of crisis.
  • Chapter 4: Optimizing Density for People unpacks common misconceptions around density and infectious disease spread, and illuminates research on the powerful role density can play in cultivating more resilient communities over the long-term.
  • Chapter 5: Addressing Health Disparities in the Built Environment examines COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on communities of color, and outlines evidence-based approaches for addressing long-standing health inequities through affordable housing, access to essential services, public space improvements, and more.

Download all 5 chapters today →


[1] Kirzinger, A., et al. (2020). KFF Health Tracking Poll – Early April 2020: The Impact of Coronavirus on Life in America. Retrieved from health-reform/report/ kff-health-tracking-poll-early-april-2020/

[2] Brown, S. (2020). How COVID-19 is affecting Black and Latino families’ employment and financial well-being. The Urban Institute, Retrieved from urban-wire/how-covid-19-affecting-black-and-latino-families- employment-and-financial-well-being