On its website (address below) the Center for Active Design shares a case study focused on the active design components of the Superior Court of California, San Benito County in Hollister, CA. The first paragraph of the case study provides an effective overview of the project: “The Superior Court of California, San Benito County is a new civic building in Hollister, California that provides the community with three courtrooms and a public plaza.
Increase Physical Activity
Lapham and her team investigated how conditions in parks influence their use. The objective of their study “was to determine the relative importance of individual- and park-related characteristics in influencing both local park use and specific engagement in active sports, walking and sedentary pursuits.” After surveying nearly 4,000 adults living within .8 of a kilometer of a park in four metropolitan areas in the United States, they found that “Survey participants who perceived the parks as safe (88%) had 4.6 times the odds . . . of reporting having visited the study park. . . .
Ewing and his colleagues contribute to the body of knowledge linking neighborhood design and walkability. They report that on-street pedestrian activity is significantly linked to “A composite variable comprised of windows overlooking the street, continuous building facades forming a street wall, active street frontage, proportion of historic buildings, number of buildings with identifiers, and number of pieces of street furniture.”
Alfonzo reports on recently completed research indicating that there are financial reasons, in addition to psychological and health ones, to design in walkability. As she details “Walkability is no longer something that is merely nice to have or a luxury; it is a key to economic competitiveness. Millennials and seniors are leading the charge.
Dunton and her colleagues learned that some contexts are better for physical activity than others. They report on research they’ve done in real world environments, not laboratories: “Greater positive affect [mood] during physical activity was reported when with other people (vs. alone). . . . Lower negative affect [mood] during physical activity was reported outdoors (vs. indoors).” These findings have implications for the design of exercise facilities, physical therapy suites, and similar locations.
Supporting walking for transportation
The design of sidewalks and the spaces beside t
In the last few months, multiple studies have indicated that people at work should be spending less time sitting. Now, the amount of standing that workers should do has been quantified, which will streamline planning the number of sit-stand desks to incorporate into workplaces and the design of break areas. An international panel of experts, convened in the UK, reviewed related studies published to date and determined that “for those occupations which are predominantly desk based, workers should aim to initially progress towards accumulating 2 hours/day of standing and light activity (li
Research on working at treadmill desks continues to roll in. Larson and his colleagues have learned that “Walking on a treadmill desk may result in a modest difference in total learning and typing outcomes relative to sitting, but those declines may not outweigh the benefit of the physical activity gains from walking on a treadmill.”
Research Design Connections reports regularly on walkability research. Cho and Rodriguez have examined this issue in a different way, finding that “conducting research on a neighbourhood scale has been the dominant approach whereas the association of the regional-scale environment with behaviours has rarely been explored. . . .