Travers and her colleagues investigated the link between walkability and actual walking among a group of Australian adults over 65 years old. Looking at areas in a 400-meter radius around participants’ homes, the team “found no association between walkability of the built environment and walking behavior of participants. Although retirement village residents lived in more highly walkable environments, they did not walk more and their overall levels of physical activity were lower than those of community residents.”
Urban trees have an important effect on how weather is experienced. Researchers from the University of British Columbia have found that “Even a single urban tree can help moderate wind speeds and keep pedestrians comfortable as they walk down the street, according to a new . . . study that also found losing a single tree can increase wind pressure on nearby buildings and drive up heating costs. . . . ‘We found that removing all trees can increase wind speed by a factor of two, which would make a noticeable difference to someone walking down the street.
Efficient and effective ways to improve society, by design
Unattractive neighbors, almost neutralized
Min and Min linked exposure to loud-ish noises and male infertility. The researchers report that they “examined an association between daytime and nocturnal noise exposures over four years . . .. and subsequent male infertility. We used the National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort (2002–2013), a population-wide health insurance claims dataset. A total of 206,492 males of reproductive age (20–59 years) with no history of congenital malformations were followed up for an 8-year period. . . . Data on noise exposure was obtained from the National Noise Information System. . .
Bogard carefully details, in The Ground Beneath Us, how the dirt under our feet affects our lives. He reports on the biological implications of paving over it, for example, and generally makes the point that the ground is a valuable resource that we should use wisely. Dirt is much more than simply the outer skin of our planet and pavement may not really be our friend. The text of The Ground Beneath Us makes it clear that dirt is closely tied to both our history and future as a species.
Women living in greener spaces have lower mortality rates. James and his colleagues report that “Green, natural environments may ameliorate adverse environmental exposures (e.g., air pollution, noise, and extreme heat), increase physical activity and social engagement, and lower stress. . . . Using data from the U.S.-based Nurses’ Health Study prospective cohort, we defined cumulative average time-varying seasonal greenness surrounding each participant’s address using satellite imagery. . . .We followed 108,630 women and observed 8,604 deaths between 2000 and 2008. . . .
Kotabe, Kardan, and Berman studied how the appeal of viewed nature is influenced by the disorder present in it. They share that “Natural environments have powerful aesthetic appeal linked to their capacity for psychological restoration. In contrast, disorderly environments are aesthetically aversive, and have various detrimental psychological effects.
Vegetation cover and mental health are related
A press release from the University of Iowa indicates it is important to provide street crossing aids, such as lights that signal pedestrians when it is safe to cross, at locations where children under 14 are likely to need to move from one side of a street to the other. Researchers determined that “children under certain ages lack the perceptual judgment and motor skills to cross a busy road consistently without putting themselves in danger.” In a realistic simulated environment “Children up to their early teenage years had difficulty consistently crossing the street safely, with acciden