City Design - Physical Activity


Density Contributes to Healthier Living


A new international study on the design of cities and how they correlate with physical activity and health found that there are four factors that contribute to improved physical activity among adults.

These four factors include:

1. Residential density - The more dense residential developments are, the more likely they are to support commercial shops and amenities within closer walking distance.

2. Intersection density - Streets that are well connected help reduce distances, shorten travel destinations, and encourage walkability.

3. Public transport density - The closer and more available transit stops are to residents, the more likely they are to use them.

4. Access to parks - In addition to providing a place for recreational activities, parks also serve as destinations for people to walk to and from, encouraging exercise.

The analyses of data from the adult study included 6822 adults aged 18–66 years from 14 cities in ten countries on five continents. Mean daily minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity were measured with 4–7 days of accelerometer monitoring.

For more information, you can view the report at The Lancet Abstract.


Public Spaces


Placemaking and the Future of Cities


Improving streets as public spaces, creating squares and parks as multi-use destinations and building local economies through markets top the list of 10 recommendations in a new study titled "Placemaking and the Future of Cities" by Project for Public Spaces, Inc.

The study's aim is to harness the power of public space for the common good. The report points out that by recognizing and developing the positive potential of their public spaces, cities can enhance safety and security, create economic opportunity, improve public health, create diverse public environments, and build democracy.

The list of 10 best practices for public space projects includes the following:

1. Improve Streets as Public Spaces
2. Create Squares and Parks as Multi-Use Destinations
3. Build Local Economies Through Markets
4. Design Buildings to Support Places
5. Link a Public Health Agenda to a Public Space Agenda
6. Reinvent Community Planning
7. Power of 10
8. Create a Comprehensive Public Space Agenda
9. Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper: Start Small, Experiment
10. Restructure Government to Support Public Spaces

The five-year cooperation agreement between UN-HABITAT and PPS aspires to raise international awareness of the importance of public space; to foster a lively exchange of ideas among partners; and to educate a new generation of planners, designers, community activists, and other civic leaders about the benefits of the Placemaking methodology.

For more information, you can view the full pdf report here: Placemaking and the Future of Cities.