New Study on the impact of urban design on obesity
Researchers from New York University and East China University recently conducted a study entitled “Walking, obesity, and urban design in Chinese neighborhoods”, investigating the relation between physical activity, obesity and urban structure in Chinese cities. By first analyzing the high rates of obesity and chronic diseases in China, the researchers then explored the impact of the built environment’s design on the travel modes of city dwellers (i.e. whether they walk, bike, use public transport, etc.).
1070 inhabitants around six densely populated neighborhoods in Shanghai and Hangzhou were surveyed to elicit information on their everyday mobility and the barriers they encounter as they use various means to travel around the city. These “barriers” or obstructions include things like air pollution, street vendors, parked cars that obstruct sidewalks, big intersections, and overhead pedestrian bridges. With this work, the researchers hope to be able to influence municipalities and developers to more comprehensively value walkable and bikable urban development designs.