Popup Health


A research effort in London and New Orleans to support increasing healthcare access and outcomes for underserved populations through small-scale popup programs and spaces.


TIMELINE: 2013-2014
LOCATION: London, New Orleans
    Hackney Council
    Hackney Parks Development Team
    ReFresh Project

Role: Designer, Strategist


Globally, poverty has often been linked with poor healthcare access and health outcomes. This is true even in “Western” countries such as the U.S. and U.K. Varied system actors such as healthcare companies, governments, and nonprofits have tried various strategies to increase access and improve outcomes for underserved populations with mixed success.

As the complexity of the healthcare system grows, these groups are increasingly looking for ways to creatively innovate. PopupHealth was a research and strategy project to explore the possibilities of implement­ing small scale popup health-related programs and spaces to address issues of health and wellbeing among the underserved and to sustainably link them to more traditional care networks.

Research investigations were undertaken in the London borough of Hackney and the Mid-City neighborhood of New Orleans. Both were diverse communities and included a significant low-income population. They also have the some of the highest incidences of preventable health illnesses and the lowest incidences of accessing preventa­tive care services. Explorations in Hackney revolved around reconfiguring an existing local park as a health hub by forming partnerships with organizations that could provide programming and adding design features that created tangible vehicles for health and well-being activities. In Mid-City, the project looked at supporting additional tactical design features that could help create a physical platform for “total health” in a building in which several health- and well-being-related programs and services were located.

Ultimately, neither project was implemented, but the investigations revealed strong interest in exploring ways that design could engage and help amplify the concept of “total health.”

The project was made possible through an innovation grant from Autodesk.

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