Wellness Communities Initiative

This Initiative was active from 2015 to 2018.

Initiative Chair: Mia Kyricos, President & CEO, Kyricos & Associates LLC, United States
Vice Chair: Anna Bjurstam, VP, Spas & Wellness, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, Sweden

Alfredo Carvajal
, President, Delos International and Signature Programs, Delos, United States
Gloria Caulfield, Executive Director, Lake Nona Institute and VP, Strategic Alliances, Tavistock Development Company, United States
Samantha Foster, Development Director, Destination Spa Management, Ltd, Thailand
Andrew Gibson, Senior Vice President,  Sensei, United States
Ben Gill, One Planet Communities Manager, Bioregional, South Africa
Alison Howland, Vice President Wellness Programs & Resources, Amrit Resort & Residences, United States
Kendra Kobler, Senior Associate, Delos Signature, United States
Sheila McCann, General Manager, Chiva-Som International Health Resort, United Kingdom
Joy Menzies, Managing Director, DSM Wellness Management, China
Steve Nygren, President and Founder, Serenbe, United States
Robert Ranzi, Program Manager, Cluster Wellness Tyrol, Austria
Brooke Warrick, President, American LIVES, Inc., United States



Following are recommended resources provided by senior stakeholders from around the world with active commercial interests in wellness-related real-estate or projects that have been proactively developed with the holistic health of their residents, guests, environment and surrounding community in mind. They are offered here to help guide ongoing development of wellness communities and related real estate in the future, and are updated periodically.

Sample Communities in Operation

Sample Communities in Development

On Our Minds

Initiative Resources

Related Studies/Reports/Published Articles

Related Institutes, Certifications, Measurements and/or Standards

  1. Austrian Ecolabel
    The eco-label is awarded to products, tourism compan
    ies and educational facilities. It provides information on the environmental impact of consumer goods by their manufacture, use and disposal. The consumers and purchasers are informed about environmentally friendly product alternatives. The Ecolabel attracts manufacturers and retailers to develop and provide eco-friendly products.
  2. BREEAM (BRE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT METHOD) is an environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings that has been applied to projects all over the world. Launched in 1990 in the United Kingdom by the BRE building research organization, BREEAM uses a broad set of performance measures to evaluate the design, construction, and use of buildings. Though primarily applied to projects in the United Kingdom, the BREEAM process is flexible and
    can be adapted and applied internationally.
  3. EU Ecolabel
    The EU-Ecolabel is used as a cross-border environmental seal of approval, which serves as a uniform identification for environmentally friendly products and services in the European market. It was launched in 1992 by the European Commission.
  4. GIIRS Ratings
    The gold standard for impact measurement in impact investing. GIIRS Ratings are rigorous, comprehensive, and comparable ratings of a company or a fund’s social and environmental impact.
  5. Global Reporting Initiative
    GRI is an international independent organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate the impact of business on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, corruption and many others. GRI publishes G4, the current version of GRI’s Sustainability and Reporting Guidelines.To read more about the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (including Implementation Manual and FAQ) click here.
  6. Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI)
    GBCI is the premier organization independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally. GBCI is the only certification and credentialing body within the green business and sustainability industry to exclusively administer project certifications and professional credentials and certificates of LEED, PEER, WELL, SITES, and GRESB.
  7. Happy City was founded in 2010 in the United Kingdom and set up to challenge the belief that economic growth is the only measure of success in society. Their aim was to put wellbeing at the heart of public discourse on what it means to truly prosper.  With an initial focus on their home city of Bristol, Happy City launched a ‘public inquiry into what works’ as an alternative to the conventional problems focused approach and came up with ‘a radically simple plan to grow happiness one city at a time’. They were soon joined by growing numbers of volunteers and supporters to help people ‘live more, share more, and enjoy life, for less’.
  8. INDOOR AIRPLUS, a program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, provides specifications to protect indoor air quality in new homes. This program, which is free to participate in, builds on the existing Energy Star certification, given to homes that meet specific criteria for energy efficiency. Indoor airPLUS homes must also earn the Energy Star label, resulting in new-construction homes that not only are more energy efficient than homes built to minimum code, but also provide better indoor air quality and comfort for occupants.
  9. International Institute for Building Biology® & Ecology
    Founded on the Principles of Bau-Biologie® (Building Biology), the institute guides both the general public and working professionals to an understanding of the vital, complex relationship between the natural and built environments, and teach them the means for merging these complementary environments into greater harmony.  Their mission is to help create healthy homes, schools, and workplaces, free of toxins in the indoor air and tap water, and electromagnetic pollutants.
  10. LEED
    LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for their project.To read more about LEED Resources (Addenda, Calculators, Checklists, Certifications, Guidance, Ratings System, Standards) click here.
  11. One Planet Living
    One Planet Living is an initiative of Bioregional and its partners to make truly sustainable living a reality.  One Planet Living uses ecological footprinting and carbon footprinting as its headline indicators.  It is based on ten guiding principles of sustainability as a framework.
  12. Purpose Built Communities  is an assemblage of internationally recognized leaders of business, a former Mayor of Atlanta, policy makers, philanthropists, community quarterbacks, directors of nonprofits, developers, education experts, finance and asset managers, grant writers, affordable housing directors, real estate executives, corporate officers, community planners, attorneys, consultants, and much more. This “dream team” of innovative thinkers is driven by a collective desire to transform communities, improve the lives of residents of underserved neighborhoods, end a cycle of intergenerational poverty, and set a new course for cities across the United States.
  13. THE BLUE ZONES PROJECT® COMMUNITY CERTIFICATION PROCESS is based on the research of Dan Buettner and a National Geographic team that identified areas of the world—referred to as Blue Zones—where people tend to live long lives. The Blue Zones Communities certification process is a true community effort: it requires various community stakeholder groups to pledge to meet specific goals.
  14. THE ENTERPRISE GREEN COMMUNITIES CERTIFICATION aims to apply the health, economic, and environmental benefits of green construction techniques to affordable housing developments. Enterprise defines affordable housing as projects targeted to prospective renters at or below 60 percent of area median income or prospective buyers at or below 80 percent of area median income. Projects eligible for certification have at least 80 percent of units designated affordable and at least 80 percent of the space designated for residential use.
  15. THE INTERNATIONAL LIVING FUTURE INSTITUTE help planners and developers design, build, and certify community-scale projects and buildings that advance measures of sustainability requirements in the built environment with these
    two programs: the Living Building Challenge and the Living Community Challenge.
  16. THE SUSTAINABLE SITES INITIATIVE (SITES) is a partnership between the American Society of Landscape Architects, the U.S. Botanical Garden, and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The SITES Rating System evaluates how well a landscape supports environmental sustainability, based on advice from experts in soil, water, vegetation, and materials science.
  17. THE SUSTAINABILITY TOOLS FOR ASSESSING AND RATING (STAR) Community Rating System is a framework and a certification and recognition program for sustainable communities. The STAR framework can be used as a planning tool to aid in decision making and community engagement around sustainability efforts, and communities can also apply to be a STAR-certified community.
  18. The WELL Building Standard® / International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI)
    The WELL Building Standard® is an evidence-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring the performance of building features that impact health and wellbeing. It is third-party certified by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI).WELL is administered by the International WELL Building Institute™ (IWBI), a public benefit corporation whose mission is to improve human health and wellbeing through the built environment.To read more about the Building Standard click here.

The Global Wellness Institute serves as an umbrella organization for numerous Initiatives, that are independently chaired and run. The resources, editorial, research and opinions presented by the Initiatives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Global Wellness Institute.