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.
Cabiro and colleagues investigated the psychological implications of living in an urban area. They found “no association between urbanicity [living in an urban area or not doing so] and multitasking abilities. However, additional analyses revealed that other variables related to the engagement with their physical environment, such as time spent outdoors, and time spent in nature were associated with multitasking abilities. This goes in line with the previous research showing the restorative effects that short-term exposure to nature can have on cognition. . . .
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. . . .
Urban zones can boost wellbeing
A press release from UCL Press announces a useful new book on urban planning. Co-Designing Infrastructures: Community Collaboration for Liveable Cities (written by Sara Bell, Charlotte Johnson, Kat Austen, Gemma Moore, and Tse-Hui The and available free at https://bit.ly/3oy9zuZ) “tells the story of a research programme designed to bring the power of engineering and technology into the hands of grassroots community groups, to create bottom-up solutions to global crises.
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. . . .
Thinking about maps--and cities--in a new, better way