NewsU.S. Mayors ‘double down’ on healthy buildings in push for healthier cities

Miami Mayor and U.S. Conference of Mayors President Francis Suarez rallies the USA’s mayors to accelerate pace on healthy buildings by embracing WELL standard.
Content Team2 years ago11 min

As part of a renewed commitment to public health and national resilience, the United States of America’s mayors have, this week, passed a major resolution to advance healthy buildings as a key strategy to support community preparedness and foster healthier, stronger cities. The policy resolution, adopted this morning by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and its membership of over 1,400 cities at the conclusion of its 90th annual meeting in Reno, also encourages communities to lead by example across their municipal buildings by using the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Health-Safety Rating.

The resolution, titled “Advancing Healthy Buildings to Support Community and National Preparedness and Resilience,” urges cities to leverage available federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to help spur local action across public building portfolios.

“Once again, mayors are out in front, adopting timely and significant policy that helps blaze a trail for people-first places in cities across the country,” said IWBI’s President and CEO Rachel Hodgdon. “We commend Mayor Suarez for his leadership, and the entire U.S. Conference of Mayors, for adopting this resolution and doubling down on WELL and its health and well-being strategies as a bedrock for driving healthier cities.”

Last week, Miami became the first city in the country to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating across a portfolio of city buildings. To help inspire fellow mayors, Mayor Suarez has urged other cities to follow suit and take similar action to lead on healthy buildings.

“By embracing WELL for our public buildings, we are stepping up — we’re walking the walk. I’m proud that this portfolio of city buildings, including our City Hall, is being recognized by IWBI, the world’s leading authority on healthy buildings,” said Mayor Francis Suarez, City of Miami and USCM President upon achieving the milestone. “I hope other cities will replicate what Miami is doing to advance WELL buildings, so we can deliver the benefits of healthy buildings to communities everywhere.”

In addition to the resolution, the USCM 90th Annual Meeting, which hosted hundreds of mayors in Reno, kicked off its Friday opening plenary with an armchair conversation between Mayor Suarez and IWBI Founder Paul Scialla, focusing on how cities can lead on WELL to achieve their healthy building goals.

“We’re looking forward to highlighting Miami – named the healthiest city in the country – and its achievement of the WELL Health-Safety Rating across municipal buildings, as a blueprint for other mayors to follow,” said Scialla, during the plenary session in Reno. “Mayors across the country are already leading. As they continue to use WELL to demonstrate that public buildings are safer, healthier and have the right protocols in place, other sectors will take note and follow their lead.”

Increasingly, local leaders are utilizing WELL to support health and well-being in their cities, including:

  • Miami, FL became the first in the country to achieve the WELL Health-Safety Rating across a portfolio of municipal buildings;
  • Austin, TX was one of the first cities in the country to achieve WELL Certification at the Gold level for one of its signature city buildings, the Permitting and Development Center;
  • Aspen, CO was one of the first cities in the country to achieve WELL Certification at the Silver level for its City Hall and police department;
  • Chicago, IL was one of the first cities to reference WELL as a pathway to meet requirements in its local sustainable building policy; and
  • Columbia, SC has a portfolio of municipal buildings enrolled to pursue the WELL Health-Safety Rating.

These city achievements reflect the USCM healthy buildings resolution, which, as noted, also aligns with concerted efforts being made to advance community preparedness. For example, it states:

“As the country moves forward and works to fortify against COVID-19 and future threats, cities and businesses alike are now embracing preparedness plans that support health and well-being in buildings to maximize prevention and minimize risk, including the adoption of healthy building tools like the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management, an evidence-based, third-party verified rating focusing on operational policies, cleaning protocols, and design strategies.”

WELL is now being adopted in 110 countries in 35,000 locations totalling 3.5 billion square feet of all space types. It is the leading global framework for scaling health across buildings, organizations and communities.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Each year, during its annual conference, USCM approves a range of policy resolutions. These policy positions adopted collectively represent the views of the nation’s mayors and are distributed to the President of the United States and Congress.

Content Team

Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.

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