Health and the city: creating built form and planning for the physically active

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Abstract Summary
One of the most common cases of deaths in developed countries are non communicable diseases – such as obesity, heart related problems and diabetes. Many of these are easily preventable and can be managed by each individual. Paradoxically the evolution of our civilisation, technology and growth of cities has lead to many diseases of affluence, which pose a great threat to the society.

Contemporary planning practices have introduced the concepts of walkability and connectivity to make pedestrian movement easier, reduce traffic and manage resources. They have discussed the shift from individual motorised transport to cycling in terms of sustainability and efficiency. But what is missing in this discussion is which features of the built form encourage people to exercise and be more active in cities, thus more healthy. Even in the simplest activities like walking, jogging or running can make a huge impact of the well being of citizens. But they also need an encouraging environment.

There is a growing awareness among citizens regarding healthy lifestyle. That includes not only proper nutrition and balanced diet, general health but also physical fitness. Instead of watching television, which quite recently seemed as a popular and attractive leisure activity, people prefer to spend time exercising, training and taking care of their bodies. It doesn’t matter if their goals are how they look, feel or fit they are. Each of those have one thing in common – better health and longer life expectancy.

This case study discusses the principles of good design for healthy cities. How cities can be more suitable for physical activities of its citizens? Which built form features are most appropriate for that? How to design the environment which would aid healthy lifestyle? Strategies for encouraging active lifestyle in cities are also discussed. It also presents the initiative of ActiCity (acticity.org) to promote good urban design and planning for aiding active and healthy lifestyle. The project currently focuses on running in cities.

Applicability of the study’s findings are universal, as they explain a set of guidelines and refer to case studies of best practices that can be implemented in other cities. It pitches the ideas for further development, research and implementation of the proposals. It discusses measuring the performance and use of space, such as the runnability index.

Abstract ID :
ISO605
Submission Type
Draft presentation :
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Board Member, Congress Director
,
ISOCARP

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