Population Health Blog

Population Health Blog

Why It Matters

Resolve: Get healthy… Save the earth… Take the stairs!

By Joyce Lee, FAIA, LEED Fellow

In 2014, Governor Snyder proclaimed Stair Week for September 8-14. With the partnership of health departments, built environment and community organizations, a number of breakfast press meetings were hosted at several locations across Michigan.

Stair Week® Michigan was launched to celebrate the health and design impact of stairs. The health benefits of taking the stairs rather than an elevator and increasing other simple daily activities have long been touted by health professionals, but Stair Week was initiated to create awareness about how well-designed spaces can impact public health. After the initial West Michigan pilot, Stair Week was expanded across the state in 2014 with the support of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Michigan. Other partners include the Michigan Fitness Foundation, local chapters of the US Green Building Council, Michigan chapter of the International Interior Design Association, and the United Way. These events demonstrate how buildings and population health can intersect.

Using the awareness created by Stair Week®, the Green Health Summit has gained interest from state and local government, including the Michigan Association of Local Public Health that comprises of over 50 health departments in the state. The AIA Michigan and US Green Building Council chapters had included exemplar built environment projects to showcase prior to Stair Week.

To see how stairs make a simple, visual focus for the idea of design, sustainability and human health synergy, please also see video prepared for 2014.


Joyce Lee, FAIA, LEED Fellow, is the president of IndigoJLD and founder of Stair Week®. She spoke at the Population Health Council’s Autumn 2014 meeting.