Professor Nik Brown (Department of Sociology) delivers his YorkTalk ‘Bodies, bugs and hospital architectures: Designing healthcare for the post-antibiotic age’ at the University of York, January 2020
The World Health Organisation identifies antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as one of the greatest threats today to global health, security and prosperity. Social anthropologist Professor Nik Brown heads a multidisciplinary team investigating how contemporary hospital design could actually be making the problem worse rather than better. In the 'pre-antibiotic era' infections were managed in healthcare buildings designed to maximise sunlight, fresh air, open space and access to the natural environment.
He argues that the increasing use of antibiotics, from the mid-20th century, made possible the construction of densely-packed, high-rise, monolithic, industrial-scale hospitals. These are now characteristically enclosed, poorly lit, sealed and artificially ventilated buildings where infections are managed pharmacologically rather than spatially and environmentally. His team looks at healthcare through a much broader lens to challenge design assumptions and think creatively using examples from history, from specialist areas of treatment and from other country contexts.
Learn more about Professor Nik Brown and hs research.