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Increase Physical Activity

Insights on Measuring Walkability (03-20-14)

Lee and Talen have thoroughly investigated methodologies for walkability research.  They’ve learned that “the combination of information from Google Street View and updated GIS layers can be an effective way of obtaining physical environment data that is very comparable to in-person observation.”

Sungduck Lee and Emily Talen.  2014.  “Measuring Walkability:  A Note on Auditing Methods.”  Journal of Urban Design, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 368-388.

Designing Playgrounds for Physical Activity (03-18-14)

Creating playgrounds that encourage physical activity is one way to help keep young people from becoming obese.  At one test site, adding movable/recycled materials to a schoolyard increased the physical activity levels of children 5 to 12 over the course of a school year relative to students at another, comparable school where movable/recycled materials weren’t placed in schoolyards for the youngsters to play with during class breaks.  The movable/recycled materials added “included milk crates, swimming noodles, buckets, cardboard boxes, tyre tubes, pipes, vacuum hoses, plastic w

Understanding City Experiences (03-17-14)

Imamichi describes the experience of running for exercise through a city while pushing a double baby stroller.  His discussion of this topic is not only of value to people designing urban environments but researchers who are interested in effectively interviewing users to learn more about their experiences.  Imamichi describes how his experiences with the surfaces under his running shoes are effected by running with a stroller, “The affordances of a place—i.e., the environmental characteristics involving action possibilities (Gibson 1979)—are perceived differently [when running wi

Treadmill Use Can Boost Productivity (03-11-14)

Researchers have learned that walking on a treadmill (instead of sitting in an office chair) while working can increase employee productivity.  In a study conducted over a one-year period, the team found that “the treadmills had a significantly favorable impact on both physical activity and work performance.”  A press release released by the University of Minnesota states that “Productivity measures were derived from employee and supervisor surveys of quantity of performance, quality of performance, and quality of interaction with co-workers.”

Design that Encourages Children to Walk to School (03-06-14)

Van Kann and his colleagues investigated which elements of the built environment encourage Dutch children between 5 and 12 years old to actively transport themselves (e.g., walk, ride bicycles, etc.) to school.  In the course of their study “The environmental characteristics were categorized into four theory-based clusters (function, safety, aesthetics, and destination). . . .

Influencing Where Adolescent Girls Walk (03-05-14)

Rodriguez and his team investigated the elements of the built environment that influence which pedestrian routes are traveled by adolescent girls.  Studies were conducted in San Diego and Minneapolis.  Researchers determined, not surprisingly, that “Shorter distance had the strongest positive association with route choice, whereas the presence of a greenway or trail, higher safety, presence of sidewalks, and availability of destinations along a route were also consistently positively associated with route choice at both sites.”