Physical Activity Communities > Built Environment

The built environment is one of many variables thought to impact physical activity. Crime-ridden streets, poorly maintained environments, lack of walking and biking paths, and limited parks and open space - all deter exercise and physical activity. Healthy places are those designed to improve the quality of life and cut across transportation, architecture, urban planning and public health interests. As certain aspects of the built environment influence the adoption of positive health behaviors, more and more communities around the world are requiring health impact statements as part of land use and urban planning projects. Design & Health has emerged in the last two decades as a critical new field of scientific research dedicated to the stimulation and application of research concerning the interaction between design, health, science and culture. As part of its “Health for All” program, WHO has engaged in establishing a Health Cities campaigns with networks created around the world. And as reported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, a pediatrician's recommendation that a patient get regular physical activity loses its salience if this patient's everyday world lacks opportunities to walk, play, or run. This area will guide visitors to policies, research and reports investigating and promoting the connection between physical activity and community design.