Preaching mostly to the choir. But good to see nonetheless. Inactivity & isolation: Bad. Active transportation, socializing: good.
Thanks to Matthew Ponsford at the Thompson Reuters Foundation for the story:
The study – by Oxford University and the University of Hong Kong (UHK) – showed that in 22 British cities people living in built-up residential areas had lower levels of obesity and exercised more than residents in scattered, suburban homes.
“As cities get more and more compact, they become more walkable. In denser residential areas they are better designed and more attractive destinations. We are less dependent on our cars and use public transport more,” he said.
Sarkar, assistant professor at UHK, said policies and planning needed to catch up with the data, rather than relying on urban myths about what makes cities work. . . .
. . . Walking made the biggest difference, said Sarkar, and social interaction and physical activity thrived best in compact communities.
The study compared more than 400,000 residents of cities – including London, Glasgow, and Cardiff – and found the best health came in areas with more than 32 homes per hectare, the average density for new building in Britain.
Those with a deeper interest and deeper pockets may want to look into this 2013 book written in part by the study’s co-author Chinmoy Sarkar: Healthy Cities — Public Health Through Urban Planning.
Mounting scientific evidence generated over the past decade highlights the significant role of our cities’ built environments in shaping our health and well-being. In this book, the authors conceptualize the ‘urban health niche’ as a novel approach to public health and healthy-city planning that integrates the diverse and multi-level health determinants present in a city system.