(January 2010) Active Living by Design: Urban planning to promote health-enhancing-physical-activity

Active Living by Design: Urban planning to promote health-enhancing-physical-activity  image


Background: In recent years a new inter-disciplinary field of knowledge has emerged that concerns urban planning to promote health-enhancing-physical-activity (HEPA) (including walking, biking and other forms of physical-activity) (Edwards & Tsouros, 2006, 2008). Results of research to date show that HEPA is positively related to ‘walkability' defined as 'overall support for pedestrian and cyclist travel' and marked by: mixed land-use, density, streets connectivity, urban design, and pedestrian amenities (Frank, Engelke & Schmid; 2003; Sallis et al., 2006;TRB, 2005). The International Physical Activity and Environment Network (IPEN) develops a strong scientific base to examine the associations between the built environment (BE) and HEPA by providing an international research protocol as well as international pooled analysis. The proposed research, first of its kind in Israel, will examine thoroughly the associations between the BE and HEPA, according to the international research protocol of the IPEN.

Research objectives: The main objective of this research is to examine the associations between detailed measures of the BE and HEPA in the form of daily walking and biking for transportation and leisure. At the neighborhood level we will examine whether HEPA is more common in high- versus low-walkability neighborhoods. At the individual level, we will examine the relative influence of the BE on HEPA after controlling for other personal and social factors. Furthermore, we aim to match specific BE characteristics with specific types of HEPA (walking, biking) for different purposes (travel, leisure).

Methodology: This research will employ a cross-sectional, multi-level design including three phases: during the 1st phase we will develop a walkability measure appropriate for Israel (by using existing GIS databases supplemented by observations) based on which we will choose 6 neighborhoods of high- and 6 of low-walkability, matched for socio economic status. In the 2nd phase, 50 adult residents (aged 20-65) from each neighborhood (600 in total) will be randomly recruited for a telephone survey about the BE, HEPA, health, and additional factors related to HEPA (personal, socio-cultural, etc.). The first two phases are fully based on the IPEN research protocol, including standardized and comparable instruments and measures of the BE, HEPA and health (adapted to Israel). The 3rd phase is based on a pilot study (Malter, 2008) and includes the matching of specific BE attributes with specific types of HEPA by interviews of 100 participants followed by space syntax analysis. The chosen area for this study is Tel Aviv district due to its ample variability in urban forms and populations, and the availability of GIS data bases.

Expected contribution: The research expected contribution is significant both internationally and nationally: Internationally, participation in the IPEN research and pooled analysis will contribute to the global knowledge in this field, while increasing the generalizability of the outcomes. In Israel, the research outcomes will be translated to evidence-based guidelines for creating 'activity friendly environments'. Rigorous application of these guidelines by urban planners, public health official and policy makers will make Israeli urban environments more healthy and sustainable.




היצירה Active Living by Design: Urban planning to promote health-enhancing-physical-activity של Mika Moran מוצעת תחת רישיון ייחוס-שימוש לא מסחרי-איסור יצירות נגזרות 2.5 ישראל של Creative Commons.