Oct. 8, 2013,
By Matthew Trowbridge
It is increasingly clear that solutions for our most pressing and challenging public health issues will ultimately hinge on designing environments that encourage healthy behavior choices by making them more available, economical, and enjoyable.
Traditional public health approaches are not perfectly suited to this task. For example, epidemiological studies allow us to measure the association between environmental design features such as parks or sidewalks and walking behavior, but these experimental data are generally insufficient to be either actionable by decision-makers or effective in prompting behavior change. As Jeff Speck, urban planner and theorist, observes in his recent book “Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time”:
“The pedestrian is an extremely fragile species, the canary in the coal mine of urban livability. Under the right conditions, this creature thrives and multiplies. But creating those conditions requires attention to a broad range of criteria, some more easily satisfied than others.” Continue reading
The July 1 proposal deadline is fast approaching for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2014 Convention, occurring July 26-28, 2014, in Chicago. Submit your proposal today!
Recognizing and communicating the impact design can have on public health is a primary interest of the Institute and intended to be a focus area at the 2014 Convention. Subject matter experts in public health are welcome to apply. Continue reading
May 10, 2013,
By Lisa Stark
In the fight against childhood obesity, the weapons have been many. Schools have tried exercise and education, and the government has mandated healthier school lunches. Now a school district in Virginia is believed to be the first in the country to try something radical —redesigning the school building, itself.
“It’s not completely out of thin air,” said public health expert Terry Huang, who helped spearhead the project, [and is a member of an expert scientific panel for the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR)]. “It is rooted in a long history of reinventing school designs to promote learning and mental well-being. We simply took that one step further.”
The result is a new elementary school for 970 kindergarteners through fifth-graders that opened this school year in rural Buckingham County, Va. From the ground up, the school is designed to promote activity and healthy eating. Continue reading