Infographic: How Our Cities Are Shaping Us

© Chris Yoon; http://www.behance.net/chrisyoon

Architects and city planners are becoming more and more familiar with the effects of our built environment.  This to-the-point infographic, designed by Chris Yoon, cites a few ways in which mid-20th century city planning trends have contributed to a growing obesity problem in the United States.  This data has alarmed scientists, planners and city officials into stressing the importance of redesigning the physical spaces so as to encourage physical activity and healthy choices.

The US has taken steps on the federal and city-wide level with a series of studies that architects and planners could use as guides in developing public spaces, new buildings, or restructuring urban, suburban and ex-urban communities.  Last summer NYC released Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design and used statistics, case studies and suggestions to give insight into how buildings could promote physical activity.

© NYC DDC

Our built environments give us cues as to how to inhabit them and have tremendous effects, sometimes subconscious, on our lifestyles. Do you walk, drive, or bike to work? Do you take the stairs or the elevator? We make these types of decisions, which are largely based on comfort, on a daily basis. But the guidelines established in this manual are intended to give designers the tools to encourage healthy lifestyle choices to address the social concerns of NYC. (Read more from this post here.)

The AIA has taken its own steps in creating the Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design Guidelines which suggest specific examples that not only target the way physical space is used, but offers solutions as to how the interior environments of buildings can be made to promote health.

Local Leaders: Healthier Communities through Design via AIA

On the one hand, they address the physical quality of buildings: access to sunlight, indoor air quality, management of waste, energy consumption and clean materials. But among the guidelines are also subtle suggestions that designers can make through the architecture, such as creating environments that encourage walking or taking stairs, that promote social interactions, and that provide amenities for physical activities such as bicycle parking or showers. (Read more from this post here.)

Clearly, the notions of and public health can have the same solutions. So it is not surprising that the UN addressed this concern determining that goals and promoting health can be mitigated simultaneously.

“Researchers argue that in the face of increasing pressure on the planet’s ability to support life, adherence to out-dated definitions of sustainable development threaten to reverse progress made in developing countries over past decades.” via International Council of Scientists (Read more from this post here.)

Infographic via The City Fix and Chris Yoon

Cite: Vinnitskaya, Irina. "Infographic: How Our Cities Are Shaping Us" 15 Jun 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 20 Oct 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=389183>