To encourage extra lively existence, public well being businesses suggest mixed-use neighborhoods and “entire” streets which are extra pedestrian- and bicyclist-friendly, however new analysis from Cornell College finds that whereas these methods enhance bodily exercise, an city bias limits its applicability in lots of elements of the nation.
Suburban and rural neighborhood planners ought to focus extra on selling leisure packages, increasing transportation choices and creating safer environments to assist an ageing inhabitants train extra, based on evaluation by researchers from greater than 1,300 counties and US cities
“These are issues we are able to consider doing in any neighborhood,” stated Mildred Warner, professor of worldwide growth and concrete and regional planning. “In case your neighborhood is investing in recreation and social exercise, they’re extra more likely to handle weight problems and different points associated to bodily inactivity.”
Warner and Xue Zhang, a postdoctoral fellow at Syracuse College, are co-authors of “Linking City Planning, the Group Surroundings, and Bodily Exercise: A Socioecological Strategy,” revealed within the Worldwide Journal of Environmental Analysis and Public Well being.
The students’ suggestions arose from the fashions they developed to determine an important elements—particular person, neighborhood, and political—influencing bodily exercise.
Demographic elements had been an important, the fashions confirmed. For instance, communities with greater minority populations exercised much less, probably resulting from decrease revenue and longer commutes, Zhang stated. Rural communities, whose populations are older and fewer affluent on common, additionally report much less bodily exercise.
To higher assist rural and underserved communities, the researchers stated, planners ought to work to increase transportation choices and promote recreation companies, emphasizing the significance of collaboration amongst public well being, planning, transportation, and parks and recreation. They need to additionally pay extra consideration to visitors security and crime considerations, along with insurance policies that promote entire streets or mixed-use neighborhoods.
“Our fashions present that security is simply as vital as transportation and extra vital than the constructed atmosphere,” the lecturers wrote.
Examples of planning and coverage adjustments that Warner and Zhang have explored in associated analysis may embody decreasing the pace restrict on rural roads to make them safer to stroll or bike. Partnerships that permit faculties, libraries, and hearth departments to share amenities for recreation, transportation, or meals distribution packages may additionally assist overcome limitations within the constructed atmosphere.
The COVID-19 pandemic, Warner stated, demonstrated the flexibility of many native governments to shift in a single day to other ways of doing enterprise, and that spirit of collaboration and creativity can be crucial because the US inhabitants grows. .grey.
“As extra of us become old, we have to begin designing our communities for everybody,” Warner stated. “We won’t simply have suggestions primarily based on city areas; we additionally want to consider what you’d do somewhere else.”
The analysis was supported by a grant from the US Division of Agriculture’s Nationwide Institute of Meals and Agriculture.
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