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Conference paper
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apo-nid60017.pdf 161.48 KB

Abstract: The built environment has an important role to play in supporting human health as part of everyday living. While this is increasingly recognised in a burgeoning inter-disciplinary body of literature, there is ongoing difficulty in defining the most effective built environment interventions that support human health. This paper proposes a way forward. We suggest three domains where planning can focus its support for human health by addressing the principle risk factors for contemporary chronic disease – physical inactivity, obesity and social isolation. First, the built environment can increase opportunities for, and reduce barriers to physical activity. The varying needs of different population groups, the purpose of the activity (transportation or leisure), and the characteristics of the built environment (such as residential and commercial densities, land use mix, connectivity and accessibility) must be considered in understanding how the environment can best support physical activity. Second, communities can be strengthened and connected by facilitating interaction in public spaces including gardens, town squares, parks and lively streetscapes. Such spaces have to be safe, inviting and meaningful for the communities that they serve. And third, through zoning and land use regulation, the built environment can support healthy eating. Interventions include community gardens and fresh food markets, as well as protecting food production systems and controlling marketing and advertising infrastructure, and food retail outlets. Our paper, based on a systematic literature review, establishes an evidence base that supports the development, prioritisation and implementation of healthy built environment policies and practices through the three identified domains.

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