Archives: Urban design & architecture

 

Handy 2002 - "How the Built Environment Affects Physical Activity: Views from Urban Planning"

Handy, Susan L.; Boarnet, Marlon G. et al
"How the Built Environment Affects Physical Activity: Views from Urban Planning"
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
August 2002; v.23, n.2 (supplement)
On the Web (pdf)
Relevance: low

The authors give a good overview of how urban planners think about how the built environment impacts physical activity, namely walking and biking.  They cover how to measure the built environment and travel behavior, how the built environment affects travel by foot differently from travel by car, and some tips on how empirically to connect the built environment to physical activity.

 

Giles-Corti 2005 - "How Important is Distance To, Attractiveness, and Size of Public Open Space?"

Giles-Corti, Billie; Broomhall, Melissa; et al
"How Important is Distance To, Attractiveness, and Size of Public Open Space?"
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
February 2005; vol.28, n.2 (supplement 2); pp.169-176
On the Web
Relevance: low

The authors surveyed Australian adults in Perth and used some sort of GIS to conclude that people walk more if they have more access to large, attractive public open space with facilities for multiple types of users. While access alone to open space was not significantly associated with achieving recommended levels of physical activity, access to large, attractive open space increased the likelihood of walking at least 6 times per week totaling >180 minutes by 50%.

 

Humpel 2004 - "Perceived Environment Attributes, Residential Location, and Walking for Particular Purposes"

Humpel, Nancy; Owen, Neville; et al.
"Perceived Environment Attributes, Residential Location, and Walking for Particular Purposes"
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
February 2004; vol.26, n.2; pp.119-125
On the Web
Relevance: medium-low

The authors conducted a survey of 400 Australian adults (mean age 60) on their walking habits and environmental perceptions. "Aesthetics, convenience of facilities, and access to services were positively associated with the neighborhood walking for men; convenience was associated with neighborhood walking for women."  People who walked more were more likely to say that weather did not influence their decision to walk.  Women were also more likely to walk if they lived near the coast.

 

King 2003 - "The Relationship Between Convenience of Destinations and Walking Levels in Older Women"

King, Wendy C.; Brach, Jennifer S.; et al.
"The Relationship Between Convenience of Destinations and Walking Levels in Older Women"
American Journal of Health Promotion
Sept-Oct 2003; vol.18, n.1; pp.74-82
On the Web
Relevance: medium-high

Using a small sample (149) of older women, the authors found that living within a 20 minute walk of a park; biking or walking trail; or a department, discount, or hardware store was significantly related to walking more, as objectively measured by pedometer readings.  Walking was also associated with living near more destinations and with a better neighborhood rating for walking.

More notes...

 

Humpel 2002 - "Environmental Factors Associated with Adults' Participation in Physical Activity: A Review"

Humpel, Nancy; Owen, Neville; Leslie, Eva.
"Environmental Factors Associated with Adults' Participation in Physical Activity: A Review"
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
May 2002; vol.22, n.3; pp.188-199
On the Web
Relevance: medium-low

The authors reviewed 19 studies, finding that "accessibility, opportunities, and aesthetic attributes had significant associations with physical activities. Weather and safety showed less-strong relationships." Several of the studies focused on excercise facilities and equipments, but others looked at neighborhood attributes.

 

Owen 2004 - "Understanding the Environmental Influences on Walking: Review and Research Agenda"

Owen, Neville; Humpel, Nancy; et al.
"Understanding the Environmental Influences on Walking: Review and Research Agenda"
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
July 2004; vol.27, n.1; pp.67-76.
On the Web
Relevance: medium

The authors review eighteen studies and conclude that the early evidence is promising.  The studies show that aesthetic attributes, convenience of walking facilities (sidewalks, trails), accessibility of destinations, and perceptions about traffic are associated with utilitarian walking.  However, better theoretical models and more studies, especially ones that examine a causal relationship, are needed.

 

Frank 2001 - "The Built Environment and Human Activity Patterns"

Frank, Lawrence D; Englke, Peter O
"The Built Environment and Human Activity Patterns: Exploring the Impacts of Urban Form on Public Health"
Journal of Planning Literature
November 2001; v.17, n.2; pp.202-218
On the Web
Relevance: low

Frank and Engelke reviews current literature to explore how physical activity affects public health and how urban form affects physical activity. The article is a good introduction to the subject with references to many useful studies (also reviewed in this  lit review), but a few of which are outdated.

More notes...

 

Berrigan 1998 - "The Association Between Urban Form and Physical Activity in US Adults"

Berrigan, David; Troiano, Richard
"The Association Between Urban Form and Physical Activity in US Adults"
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
2002; v.23, n.2S; pp.74-79
On the Web
Relevance: medium

Using data from NHANES III, the authors found that people who lived in houses built before 1946 or between 1946 and 1973 were more likely to walk regularly than were people who lived in houses built after 1973. Those living in homes built before 1946 were 1.43 times more likely and those in homes built 1946-1973 were 1.36 times more likely to walk at least a mile at least 20 times a month than were those living in homes built after 1973.

More notes...

 

Pucher 2003 - “Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from The Netherlands and Germany”

Pucher, John; Dijkstra, Lewis.
“Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from The Netherlands and Germany.”
American Journal of Public Health
September 2003; v.93, n.9; pp.1509-1516
On the Web
Relevance: high

Pucher and Dijkstra used data from national travel and crash surveys to compute fatality trends fatality and injury rates for pedestrians and cyclists in The Netherlands, Germany, and the United States.  The authors found that Americans walked/biked far less than do Dutch and Germans but were much more likely to be killed or injured than were Dutch and German pedestrians and cyclists, both on a per-trip and per-kilometer basis.  Causes include urban design and traffic regulations.

More notes...

 

Retting 2003 - “A Review of Evidence-Based Traffic Engineering Measures Designed to Reduce Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Crashes”

Retting, Richard A.; Ferguson, Susan A.; McCartt, Ann T.
“A Review of Evidence-Based Traffic Engineering Measures Designed to Reduce Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Crashes”
American Journal of Public Health
September 2003; v.93, n.9.; pp. 1456-1463.
On the Web
Relevance: low

The authors reviewed studies on engineering measures used to reduce the risk of pedestrian injuries.  These measures were classified into speed control, separation of pedestrians from vehicles (in time and space), and increased visibility of pedestrians. Highly effective measures include:

  • single-lane roundabouts,
  • sidewalks,
  • exclusive pedestrian signal phasing that stops all traffic while pedestrians cross all ways,
  • pedestrian refuge islands, and,
  • increased intensity of roadway lighting

More notes...