BEA Draft #2

Introduce argument of how the built environment influences individuals’ physical activity.

“The built environment can facilitate or constrain physical activity. Community designs that encourage “population and employment density, land use mix, street connectivity and a continuity of networks” tend to increase an individual’s physical movement, according to “Understanding the Relationship between Public Health and the Built Environment- A report prepared for the LEED-NC Core Committee.” Studies by the Centers for Disease Control, Transportation Authority, Urban Land Institute and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have all found comparable conclusions: people are willing to walk approximately a half mile to either a transit station or leisure destination (i.e. a park, gym or restaurant) or bike up to five miles if they perceive their travel to be safe and enjoyable.”

Kane, Amelia. “Understanding the Relationship between the Built Environment and Public Health: Its Significance and Why It’s Essential for Urban Planners. | HGOR.” HGOR. Accessed October 2, 2016.

Introduce the idea of parks and what they do to physical activity.

“A national study of US adults found perceived access to parks and trails was positively associated with physical activity. Respondents perceiving access to these resources were nearly two times more likely to meet physical activity guidelines than those who did not perceive these resources were available. A 3-city study found that objectively-measured density of parks and recreation facilities was associated with physical activity among adults. An observational study in Tampa and Chicago assessed energy expenditure associated with different activity zones in 28 neighborhood parks. Courts (basketball and racquet sports), playgrounds, and soccer fields generally were associated with greater energy expenditure than baseball/softball fields, picnic areas, and open spaces (Figure 2).”


Sallis, James F. et al. “The Role of Built Environments in Physical Activity, Obesity, and CVD.” Circulation 125.5 (2012): 729–737. PMC. Web. 7 Nov. 2016.

“People commonly use park and recreation services in ways that involve physical activity and contribute to their menta and physical health. Several park surveys show that users are physically active during their park visits. Such findings hold true for people of different ages. A study of adult park users in Cleveland, Ohio, for example, found that more than 69% reported moderate or high levels of physical activity. An average visit lasted about two hours, and users spent about half their time walking.”

Godbey, Geoffrey, and Andrew Mowen. “The Benefits of Physical Activity Provided by Park and …” National Recreation and Parks Association, n.d. Web. 7 Nov. 2016.

Introduce how the built environment of transportation effects physical activity

“Active transportation has declined in recent decades. Between 1977 and 1995, the number of all walking trips decreased by 32 percent for adults, with similar reductions for youth. Adults walk for only 21.2 percent of trips that are one mile or less, and children walk for only 35.9 percent of trips to school of that distance. Reversing the recent decline in rates of walking and biking for transportation, especially for short trips, presents a major opportunity for improving health for all ages. Evidence is accumulating about how the built environment can support active transportation, and this evidence can inform policy changes”

Sallis, James F. et al. “The Role of Built Environments in Physical Activity, Obesity, and CVD.” Circulation 125.5 (2012): 729–737. PMC. Web. 7 Nov. 2016.

“Cars became both forces of diffusion and cohesion, helping to change the scale and form of suburbanization well before World War II. As David Nye suggested, “The automobile was an enabling technology that permitted greater dispersion of the population.” Motor vehicles disperse populations almost randomly, and roads and highways become the essential common links between people and their homes, their jobs, and their diversions. This process was underway well before anyone recognized urban sprawl and put a name on it”

Melosi, Martin V. “The Automobile Shapes The City: Automobiles and Sprawl.” The Automobile Shapes The City: Automobiles and Sprawl. Automobile in American Life and Society, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

“Individuals who use public transportation get over three times the amount of physical activity per day of those who don’t (approximately 19 minutes, rather than six minutes) by walking to stops and final destinations. The U.S. Center for Disease Control recommends 22 minutes of moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, per day (or 150 minutes per week). Getting active helps lower the risk for many serious diseases, such as: heart and vascular diseases, strokes, diabetes, hypertensive diseases, osteoporosis, joint and back problems, colon and breast cancers, and depression. Public transportation improves access to education and employment, which in turn leads to better long-term economic opportunities. In fact, 12 percent of transit riders are traveling to schools and almost 60 percent are going to work. It also provides access to social and recreational activities, allowing individuals to participate in events they otherwise couldn’t. Furthermore, public transit benefits community cohesion by promoting positive interactions between neighbors.”

“6 Health Benefits Of Public Transportation.” TransLoc. N.p., 2016. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

Use Urban Sprawl as an example

“Urban sprawl threatens productive farmland, transforms parks and open spaces into highways and strip malls and destroys more than one million acres of parks, farms and open space each year. As sprawling neighborhoods and highways engulf open space, the natural habitats of wildlife are disappearing beneath the concrete, which is threatening important ecosystems in the U.S. and around the world, such as the Chesapeake Bay, the Everglades and the San Fransisco Bay, and is among the biggest threats to endangered plants as well. The increase of air pollutants from urban sprawl, such as nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons, ozone and particulate matter, increases respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis and heightens the risk of life-threatening conditions like cancer.”

“Urban Sprawl.” Urban Sprawl – Everything Connects. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

“People living in suburban areas are more likely to be obese than people living in urban areas, according to the Ontario College of Family Physicians and the American Planning Association. Both studies show that people living in suburban areas tend to rely on their vehicles more often–even for short trips–instead of walking or cycling. This lower level of activity increases the risk of obesity, which can lead to other health problems such as heart disease, high-blood pressure and diabetes.”

“Negative Effects of Urban Sprawl.” Home Guides. SFGate, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.

“Key characteristics of built environments and community design are land use (residential, commercial, institutional, or park and open space), intensity (population density), location relative to other community destinations, the interconnections available to reach those destinations, and aesthetic qualities. Having a variety of destinations close by has been positively associated with walking and bicycling for transportation. Destinations refer to land uses that are frequently accessed in daily life for shopping, education, work, and recreation. Proximity to parks and commercial areas is associated with higher active transportation. Population density refers to the number of individuals or households living in a particular area and is consistently associated with higher active transportation. In areas of high density, destinations can be closer together because the number of people needed to support shops, services, and schools is found in a smaller area. Transportation facilities that connect residential areas and destinations also are related to active transportation. When neighborhoods have sidewalks, streets are well-lit, and pedestrians are shielded from traffic, residents are often found to walk more and have higher physical activity, though results are not highly consistent. Having bicycle paths or trails that separate bicycles from traffic is sometimes associated with increased bicycle use.”

Sallis, James F. et al. “The Role of Built Environments in Physical Activity, Obesity, and CVD.” Circulation 125.5 (2012): 729–737. PMC. Web. 7 Nov. 2016.

What can be done to influence the built environment

“Although bricks and mortar solutions are important, research has emphasized the importance of programming and policies to support infrastructure changes. Programming for active transportation to schools (such as safe routes to school and the walking school bus) has been associated with increased physical activity among children, though the studies are methodologically weak. Policies play a crucial role in encouraging active transportation. A review concluded there is sufficient evidence that community-scale land use regulations and policies can be effective in increasing walking and bicycling. Policies also support complementary strategies such as programs and promotions to encourage active transportation. This is particularly apparent in interventions to promote bicycling in which single strategies had little effect, but uncontrolled evaluations of cities that used multiple strategies, including protected bicycle facilities, bicycle sharing, and policies favoring cyclists, appeared to be consistently effective.”

Sallis, James F. et al. “The Role of Built Environments in Physical Activity, Obesity, and CVD.” Circulation 125.5 (2012): 729–737. PMC. Web. 7 Nov. 2016.

“Walkability between destinations is one key benefit of mixed use neighborhoods. If well designed, these areas support easy walking or cycling to home, work, school, stores, services and community centers with sidewalks, bike paths, and other accessible walkways all interconnected. When walking is made easy and convenient, people will be more physically active. Walking also decreases people’s need for cars, which results in lower per capita emissions of chemicals that pollute the air and also reduces vehicular traffic, making streets safer and more pleasant. The key to mixed land use zoning is proximity: long distances between land uses make walking impractical, even when pedestrian facilities are provided. People will be more likely to walk if destinations are kept within a half mile or ten-minute walking distance.”

“Mixed Use Development.” VNRC Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2016.


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