Increase Physical Activity

Elevators, Stairs, and Exercise (08-27-14)

Building design can support/encourage inside exercise through activity-inducing floor plans.  Bassett and his crew recently conceptually replicated the findings of earlier researchers, investigating “if buildings with centrally located, accessible, and aesthetically pleasing staircases result in a greater percentage of people taking the stairs.”  They conducted research in “3 buildings on a university campus. One of the buildings had a bank of 4 centrally located elevators and a fire escape stairwell behind a steel door.

Neighborhood Design, Disability, and Life Experiences (08-07-14)

Botticello and her colleagues investigated the life experiences of people in the National Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems database living in different sorts of areas.  They determined that “Living in communities with greater land use mix and more destinations was associated with a decreased likelihood of reporting optimum social and physical activity. Conversely, living in neighborhoods with large portions of open space was positively associated with the likelihood of reporting full physical, occupational, and social participation."

Location and Walking (06-18-14)

Cho and Rodriguez assess location’s influence on walkability in an article that reviews many of the classic issues raised by researchers.  The team found that “a neighbourhood’s location may be associated with walking or physical activity and . . . this association may be separately identifiable from the influence of the neighbourhood built environment on behaviours. The findings indicated that residing in a highly urban location had a consistently positive association with walking and transportation-purpose physical activity” but did not influence recreational walking.

Challenges for New Urbanists (06-12-14)

It’s becoming more difficult to develop New Urbanist communities.  These residential enclaves encourage neighbors to socialize with each other.  Wesley Marshall, at the University of Colorado, Denver, has studied “the increasing challenges of balancing complex traffic engineering systems with the ideals of walkable, sustainable neighborhoods.”  For example, “One of those principles [of New Urbanism] relies on narrow streets to restrict travel speeds for increased safety.