Making Cities Fit for Life - Key Urban Design Features for a Healthy Living Environment

Hitomi NAKANISHI, Greg Mews

    Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


    Evidence has increasingly emerged in the literature, over the last decades, linking the built environment to chronic cardiovascular diseases (physical inactivity, obesity and excess weight) due to the lack of active travel (walking, cycling and public transport). It is clear that the built environment can play a significant role in promoting physical activity, therefore reducing these health-related risk factors.
    However, to date, there are still limited research outcomes addressing this correlation as a critical component of the built form, especially in the Australian context. This paper aims to investigate options to improve health outcomes by modifying the built environment including the integration of land use and transport. The paper focuses on the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), where the participation in active travel, in particular the use of public transport, is significantly low. The applied research method is a “quality of life” residents’ questionnaire survey that found excess weight and obesity are major health concerns for those residents. Based on the residents’ reported perceptions, this study explores the land use and transport characteristics that are barriers to their achieving a sufficient level of physical activity to gain a health benefit as part of their daily routine.
    The paper proposes key urban design principles to encourage better outcomes for travel-related physical activity and contribute to a reduction in overall health-related risks. The integration of transport is also a subject for discussion. The findings are applicable to other Australian cities so that planners could incorporate these design principles taking into account their local circumstances.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication6th State of the Australian Cities Conference 2013 Proceedings
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    PublisherState of Australian Cities Research Network
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Print)1740440331
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventState of the Australian Cities Conference 2013 - Sydney, Australia
    Duration: 26 Nov 201330 Nov 2013


    ConferenceState of the Australian Cities Conference 2013


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