- Planning for Health and Sustainability (Low-Fat Cities)   click here to open paper content1732 kb
by    Perry, Guy | guyperryinvi@gmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The way in which our cities expand impact, not only on environmental
sustainability, but on human health. Increasingly, current physical living
patterns in transition economies make it challenging for humans to lead
healthy and balanced lifestyles. Brazilian and Polish developments strive
to keep their cities and their inhabitants lean.
The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the central role that
planning and urban design can play in determining the health of inhabitants
of urbanized areas and it[simplequote]s immediate promise to help address
more general environmental sustainability issues.
The way we create our physical environment, especially at the urban scale,
has a greater impact on our health, than was previously considered. Issues
of health and the environment during the late 19th
century and most of the 20th century were largely
related to levels of pollution and contaminants in the air and water, as
well as related issues of disease. As populations become wealthier, in the
late 20th century and thus far in the
21st, we have new health concerns that are an
outgrowth of our new living patterns at the scale of the city. The US now
devotes 17% of GDP to supporting an increasingly unhealthy population, by
2030 over 25% of UAE citizens will be diabetic and in Brazil 1% more of the
population has become obese during each year of the last decade. These
trends cannot be explained by changing diets alone.
Current (2013) research by the NIH in the US, UK, China, India and Brazil
has charted a precipitous course of an increasingly sedentary population
from the last few decades to beyond 2030, that has a direct repercussion on
health and well being of humans at a global scale. While increasing work
and leisure [quotright]screen time[quotrightB]play a significant role in
alarming trends of obesity, hypertension and diabetes, so does the
organization of our physical environment. Our fragmented urban expansion
patterns discourage basic living patterns that are healthy for humans and
this is especially the case in the expanding areas of cities in rapidly
developing countries.
The paper will focus on case studies in Brazil and Poland, which will
analyze existing planning, urban design and living patterns on the urban
frontier of cities. It will examine density, interconnectedness, movement
systems, distribution of land uses and microclimates. It will compare
specific and intentionally very different urban development projects that
attempt to counter key challenges to health within these urban frontier
The paper will also suggest that tackling the very tangible issue of health
may also be a way of effectively grappling with general issues of
environmental sustainability. Given that environmental sustainability
continues to be considered an abstract, non-pressing issue, by most,
health, in contrast may serve to reframe these related issue to create a
platform for an immediate planning dialogue. The urgent issue of human
health, when seen through the lens of planning, will raise awareness that
by building more humanly oriented urban environments, we are addressing
human environmental sustainability at a global scale as well.
Health Sustainability
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