FORMAS Call┋Designed living environment for health and well-being


Apply for a grant for research and innovation projects that provide new or more in-depth knowledge and solutions for how designed living environments can promote human health and well-being. The call places great emphasis on different sectors and stakeholders working together to develop these solutions.

The call is being implemented within the framework of the national research programme for sustainable spatial planning. The call addresses the programme’s goal of contributing to living environments that have a positive impact on public health and relates to the theme of human health and well-being.

The total budget for this call is SEK 40 million.


There is a clear link between physical design and people’s health and well-being. The way our communities and societies are planned, built and designed affects how we work, live, socialise and move from place to place. This, in turn, affects our health and well-being. Good an equal health increases the quality of life for individuals while providing socio-economic benefits, including reduced costs for health and medical care. An understanding of health-promoting living environments and of how the built environment impacts our health and well-being is therefore central to spatial planning.

Since 2018, Sweden has had a comprehensive policy in place for what are called designed living environments. Such environments include all the built and natural environments where we live, work, play and spend our time: residential buildings, schools and hospitals, and public spaces including parks, streets and squares. The designed living environment covers architecture, design, public art and cultural heritage areas in the built environment. Spatial design involves managing and developing existing environments as well as the design and placement of future construction. In a carefully designed environment, form, function and sustainability interact, helping to improve health, well-being and overall contentment.

The strategic agenda, 1.3 MB. for the national research programme for sustainable spatial planning identifies the need for more knowledge and solutions around how living environments are designed and how the built environment can contribute to increasing people’s health and well-being. Health and well-being are affected by aesthetic, artistic and cultural-heritage values, access to daylight, noise levels, access to nature and recreational areas, and play environments.

Purpose and focus

The purpose of the call is to provide knowledge and solutions that promote health and well-being through the design and development of living environments. The call places great emphasis on different sectors and stakeholders working together to develop these solutions.

Living environments include the places and buildings where people reside, work and live their lives, including public spaces with parks, streets and squares. The designed living environment includes how architecture, form, public art and cultural heritage areas can encourage the creation of human habitats that are sustainable in the long term and are well-designed.

The call welcomes research and innovation projects that specifically investigate and suggest how to shape a designed living environment so it makes a positive contribution to people’s health and well-being. This can involve, for example, planning, construction, renovation, management, guidelines, regulations, follow-up and use of the built environment.

Examples of relevant areas for the call are:

  • Planning and development of the built environment, such as designing and siting buildings and infrastructure in relation to each other, and how to develop environments between buildings to best promote good health and well-being.
  • Renovation, conversion and development of existing buildings and areas. The cities and communities of the future are largely already built, but they need to adapt and evolve if we are to create sustainable environments characterised by good health and well-being.
  • Designing living environments, such as green spaces, that can promote mobility and activity among diverse groups in society like the elderly, young people and people with disabilities.
  • Designing buildings and living environments to counteract mental illness and loneliness.
  • Property development and material selection that support healthy indoor and outdoor environments in terms of factors like daylight, noise and air pollution.

Formas encourages creative project proposals that address both social and environmental sustainability aspects in both the design and use of different types of living environments. Projects are encouraged to link design with other issues and initiatives, for example regarding climate adaptation measures and energy efficiency measures, in order to create synergies that can promote health and well-being.

Projects can address any relevant development phase or consideration, from planning to a building’s architecture, from the local level to the national level, and from rural to urban. You can also study international cases to learn key lessons that can be applied in a Swedish context.

The call as a whole and funded projects are expected to produce the following:

  • New or more in-depth knowledge and novel solutions for how designed living environments can promote health and well-being.
  • Collaboration across disciplines and sectors, as well as different types of organisations.
  • Results that lead to changed built environment practices in Sweden or abroad.

Strengthened expertise around design issues linked to health and well-being in society.


In order for applications to be assessed as being within the purpose and focus of the call, the project’s focus must be on design and development considerations that clearly relate to people’s health and well-being. You must also clearly state in the application how the project will help to develop practices that support sustainable spatial planning.

Projects that are assessed to fall outside the purpose and focus of the call cannot be awarded a grant and will be rejected prior to review. Only complete applications will be assessed with regard to whether they fall within the scope of the call. Assessments are therefore only made after the call closes.

Who can apply under this call

The call is aimed at a wide range of stakeholders, such as municipalities, property owners, architectural firms, industry and interest organisations, non-profit organisations and researchers from all disciplines. Research-performing organisations (higher education institutions or research institutes) as well as companies, public organisations and other organisations are welcome to apply for a grant.

The call welcomes projects that promote collaboration across disciplines as well as cross-sectoral collaboration between academia and the sectors, stakeholders and organisations that will design and support a sustainable built environment. In the projects, researchers and end users should work together with the aim of developing solutions or processes that can be applied and make a real-world impact in society.

The project team must consist of at least one party from a research-performing organisation and at least one that is an end user from the business sector, the public sector or other relevant organisation, such as a trade or interest organisation. A maximum of five project parties may be included in the project, including the main applicant’s organisation.

The project team must include at least one researcher with a doctoral degree (obtained by the time the call closes), but this person does not have to be the coordinating project party (main applicant). Other participants do not need to have a doctoral degree.

Application date
2, 3 or 4 years
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology, Architecture and urbanism
Social sciences : Law, Economy, Geography, Management and Public administration, Gender studies, Identities, gender and sexuality, Psychology & Cognitive Sciences, Political science, Environmental Sciences, Sociology
Citizen Sciences
Other : Physics, mathematics and engineering