Engelen and colleagues investigated the implications of moving into a workplace designed to increase user activity levels. They determined that after study participants “relocated into a new active design building. . . . participants spent [significantly] less work time sitting . . . and [significantly] more time standing . . . while walking time remained unchanged. Participants reported [significantly] less low back pain. . . . Sixty per cent of participants in the new workplace were in an open-plan office, compared to 16% before moving.
Increase Physical Activity
Researchers have devoted a great deal of attention to identifying neighborhood and urban design that encourages active transport (e.g., walking or riding a bicycle). It turns out that income levels influence how people respond to active transport options. University of Washington researchers Xi Zhu and Cynthia Chen, presented research at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting indicating that “Lower- and middle-income [people] who live in denser neighborhoods — with stores, libraries and other destinations within easy reach — are more likely to walk or bike. . .
A new book offers insights on the design of outdoor spaces near healthcare facilities.
Walking not just related to walkability
How actively children play in parks is influenced by the design of those parks. Baek and his team found that “particular features of parks—especially complexity in landscape surfaces, proximity to sport facilities and playgrounds, and the availability of pedestrian trails—enable greater intensity of youth physical activity in a park.”
Solhyon Baek, Samira Raja, Jiyoung Park, Leonard Epstein, and Li Yin. “Park Design and Children’s Active Play: A Microscale Spatial Analysis of Intensity of Play in Olmsted’s Delaware Park.” Environment and Planning B, in press.
Assessing how healthy a built environment is
Making a difference with scents
The Active Living Research group is making available without charge, at the web address noted below, a peer-reviewed report on active living research because “The design and maintenance of neighborhoods, streets, and parks, and people’s perceptions of those places . . . can affect physical activity in youth and adults.” Key research results presented include: “People, regardless of their socio-cultural characteristics, generally have similar perceptions of the aesthetics of an environment.
Researchers at the University of Exeter and University College London report on movement and likelihood of death. Their findings were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology and have “challenged claims that sitting for long periods increases the risk of an early death even if you are otherwise physically active.” Researchers “followed more than 5000 participants for 16 years . . . and found that sitting, either at home or at work, is not associated with an increased risk of dying.
Hajrasouliha and Yin investigated links between visual street connectivity and foot traffic. Some definitions: “higher physical connectivity means shorter travel time to reach the same number of destinations while higher visual connectivity means fewer turns to see the same number of destinations.” The researchers learned that “Despite the correlation of these two connectivity constructs, studying both physical and visual connectivity is essential to better understand the role of street network on pedestrian activity. . . .