Network of Care
Historical research of healthcare shows an overarching pattern of a system that once delivered via centers of religious practices, as an extension of charitable and welfare services for those in need, to a healing ‘machine’ that was characterized by segregation and consolidation, driving toward efficiency. As we know, this is now breaking down further in scale in the form of retail clinics, mobile health, and telemedicine that deliver healthcare but also have negative impacts in terms of social isolation. Network of Care aims to counter inequality in access and a decline in interpersonal care through a mobile health unit that brings personal care to communities in lower-density cities. This speculative autonomous unit will provide primary care services to neighborhood residents as well as providing place-making strategies that elevate healthy lifestyles through safe and inspiring architectural environments.
The project piggybacks on existing urban infrastructures of Detroit, such as libraries, parks, schools, to provide primary health assistance for pregnant women and children in the “health desert” areas of the city. Networks of Care addresses a lack of access to healthy food, social isolation, and the poor quality of physical environments. The project will display two test cases; one when docked next to an elementary school and the other in one of Detroit’s neighborhood parks. These test cases allow Networks of Care to demonstrate the viability of combining autonomous mobility and architectural strategies to create safe and inspiring places as well as facilitating more effective community engagement practices.