Residential street networks make a real difference in lives lived
Powerful repercussions for public space design
Implications for how we treat others
Sahani and team study effects of trees in urban areas, beyond their ability to mentally refresh the people who see them and other similar benefits. The Sahani group determined that “Nature-based solutions (NBS) such as green (vegetation) and blue (waterbodies) infrastructure are being promoted as cost-effective and sustainable strategies for managing the heatwaves risks, but long-term monitoring evidence is needed to support their implementation.
Research continues on neighborhood walkability. Koohsari, Oka, Nakaya, and McCormack (study published in the Journal of Urban Health) conducted an extensive research project: “‘Our analyses revealed that street integration influenced walking undertaken as a means of transport. Importantly, it was the availability of destinations that strengthened this relationship. As far as leisure walking was concerned, there was no significant relationship between the distance covered and the degree of street integration,’ says Dr. Koohsari.
Sepanta, O’Brien, and Arpan studied the implications of space use changes made during the pandemic. They gathered data from people “who started teleworking and moved at least 20 kilometres away from their original homes within two years of the beginning of COVID-19. . . . The results of this study suggest most participants moved to bigger houses with dedicated offices in less accessible neighbourhoods, which prompted more vehicle purchases. . . . The interviews indicated that the overall energy use of participants has increased as a result of these changes.”
Creating walkable spaces can be as good for our physical health as it is for our mental health. Koohsari, Nagai, Oka, Nakaya, Yasunaga, and McCormack report that “neighborhoods with more active living options and higher population density were associated with fewer risk factors for metabolic syndrome. . . . Cardiovascular diseases continue to be the leading causes of death worldwide. Metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors including hypertension and obesity, significantly increases the likelihood of cardiovascular diseases. . . .
Carson and colleagues link neighborhood walkability to neighborhood social health. They determined via data collected in the United States that “neighborhood walkability was related to neighborhood social health. . . . We created a walkability index around each participant's home (1 km street network buffer) based on residential density, street intersection density, mixed land use, and retail floor area ratio. Neighborhood social health outcomes included reported social interactions with neighbors and sense of community. . . .
Tree cover, brain structure linked
The Irish Times reports on a study presented at the European Congress on Obesity by Brouwer and van Rossum. The researchers found that “living in a safer neighborhood can have a greater impact on weight loss than how close your home is to a gym of grocery store. Factors such as inadequate street lighting, groups of loitering children, and heavy traffic all have an association with difficulties losing weight. . . .