Urban Environment

Walkability and Personality (05-15-20)

Gotz and colleagues link area walkability and human personality.  The researchers share that they had “hypothesized that walkability would be positively linked to Agreeableness and Extraversion due to increased opportunities for social interactions and selective migration. . . . walkability was positively related to Extraversion . . . but not to Agreeableness. . . . walkable urban environments may be conducive to a more animated and lively social climate which is reflected in heightened extraversion among residents of such areas. . . . walkability robustly predicts individual Extraversion.

Gardening’s Benefits (05-08-20)

Research by Ambrose and colleagues confirms the psychological benefits of gardening and supports the allocation of space to it.  The investigators studied data collected in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area: “five measures of EWB [emotional wellbeing] were computed for each participant for each activity type [while doing that activity]: average net affect, average happiness, average meaningfulness, the frequency of experiencing peak positive emotions (happiness and meaningfulness).

New Urbanism and Health (03-09-20)

Iravani and Rao looked at links between New Urbanist design and health.  They specifically studied  “how the 10 New Urbanism principles produce outcomes that affect public health. The outcomes include: (1) higher usage of non-motorized and public transit modes, which results in more physical activity; (2) lower usage of private automobiles, which results in less air pollution; (3) safer streets, which results in fewer traffic accidents; and (4) complete community planning for residents, regardless of income, age or ideas, which results in better access to health resources.

Neighborhood Disorder and Trust (02-26-20)

Chang and Baskin-Sommers set out to learn more about how a disorderly neighborhood can influence trust. They share that “Neighborhood disorder (i.e., physical or social decay) is associated with decreased trust, which reinforces criminal behavior for some individuals in these communities. . . . we examined the association between perceived neighborhood disorder and facial trustworthiness perception. . . .   findings suggest that similarly processing trustworthy and untrustworthy faces . . .

Green Space and Crime (02-25-20)

Shepley and colleagues investigated links between urban green space and nearby crime.  They determined via a literature review that “Green spaces typically comprised tree cover, parks and ground cover. Criminal behaviors typically included murder, assault, and theft. The majority of the research reviewed involved quantitative methods (e.g., comparison of green space area to crime data).

Neighborhood Design and Thinking (02-18-20)

Besser and team studied the responses of several older user groups to neighborhood design.  More specifically, they “examined whether neighborhood built environment (BE) and cognition associations in older adults vary by apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype, a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD). . . .  Neighborhood characteristics included social and walking destination density (SDD, WDD), intersection density, and proportion of land dedicated to retail. Individuals were categorized as APOE ε2 (lower AD risk), APOE ε4 (higher AD risk), or APOE ε3 carriers.

Walking, Walkability, and User Groups (02-17-20)

Stappers and colleagues investigated how user perceptions of neighborhood walkability influence movement by different groups.  They determined via data collected in The Netherlands that “individuals with a lower level of education or health-related problems spent more time in the home neighborhood. The perceived neighborhood walkability only affected [empirically measured] NB-PA [neighborhood-based physical activity] for individuals spending a relatively large amount of time in their home neighborhood.

Locating Bike Sharing Stations (02-07-20)

Recently completed research indicates that potential users of bike sharing services are not willing to walk much to pick up that shared bike.  Girotra, Belavina, and Kabra determined that Even a relatively short walk to find the nearest bicycle is enough to deter many potential users of bike sharing systems. . . . outside of a few big stations at major transit hubs, cities and bike-share operators should strive to create denser networks with many smaller stations . . .  and keep them stocked.. . . .


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