Does evidence based design for healthcare built environments limit creativity?

Research into therapeutic built environments and Evidence Based Design (EBD) has increased during the past three decades and the concept more readily adopted in practice. However, some practitioners believe that, as with any approach that builds on previous experiences to develop standards and guidelines, EBD could limit creativity. Given that creativity is often regarded as a major source of competitive advantage for a design, if EBD is seen as a barrier to creativity this may hinder its acceptance and application. The extent to which EBD could limit creativity during the design process is explored through a literature review. The findings suggest that only a smaller segment of evidence-based information, which relates to concept development, would affect creativity. Such information could foster information-driven design strategy and result in a lower level of creativity. However, properly implemented EBD strategies should not limit creativity since expert designers in EBD would use their knowledge (of therapeutic evidence) and expertness in the design process and need not follow and information driven strategy.