Alvaro Valera Sosa

Science and creativity
for urban health

• neighborhood walkability
• personalized care centres

Architect and public health researcher

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Born in Venezuela, Alvaro spent his childhood living in U.S.A. to later return and achieve an architecture diploma in Caracas. Years later, after completing construction management in Spain, he moved to Berlin, Germany. His vision to combine health and architecture got him accepted to study at the Charité Medical University of Berlin, being the first architect to achieve a Public Health master at this institution. Thesis: Walkability for Health (2015).

Since 2011, he has been an Evidence-based Design Researcher at the Technische Universität Berlin where he conducted numerous pedestrian evaluation projects in various countries. From 2018 on, as founder and manager of BHL Building Health Lab, he created and developed UrbanCare to help assist city planners in cities such as Berlin, Groningen, and Florence.

Alvaro also acts as commissioning editor for the Cities & Health Journal, collaborates with the German Architects Declare for Climate and Biodiversity, and is a member of the German Alliance for Global Health and the pedestrian advocacy group “Fuß e.V.” in Berlin.

Some highights

Concept to Creation
Key Projects

Systematic observation method

Pedestrian environment evaluation framework


Personalized healthcare centres

Scientific projects

University Hospital Charité Berlin Mitte Campus

Walkability Think Piece

A think piece for decision makers

Urban Heat Island or Healthy Hospital?
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Kiang Wu Hospital, Macau SAR

Neighborhood walkability evaluation

Pedestrian obstacle descriptions

to support staff active travel and patient recreation

Evaluation projects

Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Tanzania

Feasibility study for walkability

Attending mobility needs of cancer patients

Functionalilty with positive distraction

Street Network | Cimatarra, Colombia

Walkability against flooding

Improving pedestrian safety and local climate

water retention and detention against floods

Teaching experience

Curricula design, development and implementation in academia

● Pocket Clinics and Hospitals for Indonesia – 12 CP, master students, TU-B 2017 

● Raum Pilot a Center for Diabetes – 12 CP, master students, TU-B 2016 

● Designing Medical Neighborhoods – 5 CP, master graduate students, POLIMI 2016 

● Urban Walkability & Streetscape Design – 5 CP, master graduate students, TU-B 2016 


 ● Urban Walkability – 3CP, master students, Dessau International Architecture (DIA) 2016 

● Consecutive Places & Walkability – 15 CP, master students, TU-B 2014-15 

● Active Places XL – 15 CP, master students, TU-B 2013 

● Building Health – 3 CP, master graduate students, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin 2013 

● Ask, Find, Think & Decide! Evidence-based design research, 3CP masters, TU-B 2013

and some publications ▽

Evidence-based design in healthcare settings

Healing architecture concept and evidence based design research

This chapter develops on the premise that Healing Architecture works but cannot explain its curing capacities without support of an Evidence-based Design (E-bD) approach. A field redefined in this essay as the process that ensures architecture develops to enhance human health.

City Development for health

Principles for Assessing population health; Walkability evaluation; Streetscape Design

City Development is a teaching research project that started in the Winter Semester of 2013 with a course titled Building Health. 

Understanding Walkability

An urban form and street pattern comparison


This descriptive study provides information indicative of the interaction between physical features of neighbourhood environments with health behaviours such as walking and biking which consequently affect disease rates related to lifestyle.

Urban Medical Neighborhoods

Considerations on building neighborhood health ecosystems

Aiming transformational change in healthcare, this study elaborates on how sustainable health systems be acheived when built on the strongest pillar of any country’s economy: the building sector.