Healthy People — Healthy Places

Vist & Vera is a design research lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison focusing on health promoting community design and research. The lab partners with nonprofits, local community leaders and funders to create healthy communities. Our work is based on the foundation of Environment and Behavior Science (EBS) and our platform is a cross-section of environmental scales- from the smallest design fundamentals to complex compositions- from individuals to communities. We focus on the dialog between a person and a place in the everyday environment- how the environment affects people’s health and well-being, emotions, behavior, and perception.


The name Vist & Vera means a living being in a living space’

Established in 2005 in Iceland, Vist & Vera was a privately owned landscape architecture firm working on a range of public, private and community initiated design and planning projects, consultation and research.

The name Vist & Vera is Icelandic, composed of two words that both refer to being, place and living. The noun vist means be or stay as in being or staying somewhere. When used as a verb (að vista) it means to place something somewhere. When vist is used as a prefix, it means eco-. This connection to life or living is also present when vist is used in plural (vistir), which means food or nourishment or what one needs to survive. The noun vera means being as in human being and the verb (að vera) means to be or to stay. When the prefix “nær” is added it means presence (nærvera). Combined the two words can also mean a living space (vistarvera). Therefore, Vist & Vera can mean a living being in a living space.