FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Designing "Walkable Neighborhoods" For Better Health

Your health may be determined in large part by your community's design, according to a recent study by the American Planning Association.

Most communities in the US have grown up in an ad hoc manner, or planned with considerations other than the residents' health. The APA recommends that communities be designed to support pedestrians and cyclists, with ample sidewalks, bike paths, and closer proximity of retail and recreational areas to residences. "Walkable neighborhoods" would encourage residents to exercise, and would reduce the level of pollution from motor vehicles.

"Walkability of neighborhoods around each participant's home was significantly related to overall physical activity levels, minutes per week devoted to active transportation, and body mass index," Says Lawrence D. Frank of the University of British Columbia, who led the study. "People living in high-walkable neighborhoods were more physically active, walked more and had lower BMI."

Source: World Future Society