Your House, Its Making You Fat

This is an intriguing concept—I first heard about in a college Anthropology class—could the way our modern neighborhoods are configured be contributing to the increase in national obesity? Allison Arieff of By Design investigates:
First, let’s talk about cars. Stop designing for them. Natural light, floor plans that are conducive to human patterns of use — these sorts of things should be the defining features of homes. Not a garage. There’s almost no viable excuse for failing to create communities with within-walking-distance amenities like playgrounds, cafes and corner markets. Take inspiration from Inspirada: Even Las Vegas, that bastion of architectural absurdity, has opened a New Urbanist community. Though it seems to lack any viable form of public transportation (and includes “Da Vinci Estates” and “Van Gogh Homes”), it has been designed around public parks and community centers, has promised to deliver walkable retail and business centers, and has even planned a central village, called Civitas, meant to promote civic behavior (the definition of which I am not clear, given that it’s in Las Vegas)…


…Contrary to popular belief, the pace and proximity of urban living can actually contribute to more healthful lifestyles, while lower-density communities tend to have a higher incidence of cardiovascular and lung diseases, including asthma in children, as well as cancer, diabetes, obesity, traffic injuries and deaths; these are exacerbated by an increase in air pollution, gridlock and traffic accidents, and by a lack of physical activity. The study recommended that people seek out cities and towns with reliable public transportation systems, bicycle lanes and pedestrian paths, ones that have schools, businesses and stores within walking distance.
I’ve seen this first hand. My parents live in a rural-suburban area. Just going to buy a newspaper is at least a fifteen minute drive and most people in their neighbor stay locked up in there houses. No walking to the park, no local market, no nothing—worrisome.
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LLouise - February 22, 2008 11:58 AM

Hmmm...I dunno. I kinda like my privacy and hidden-far-far-away-preferably-in-a-forest-like area home is what I'm after! Sometimes, a woman's home is her castle ;^). I need quiet when I come home. Maybe I'm just an old grump :D.

Gerry Pugliese - February 22, 2008 12:26 PM

Hey Llouise-

You're not a grump--LOL! I think the other side of this issue is how people in these new modern neighbors choose to live.

I mean you can live tucked away in the forest, but, that doesn't mean you can't still be exercising and eating right.

As for me, I'm inching closer and closer to NYC.

LLouise - February 22, 2008 4:25 PM

Ahh, city boy, aye? I think I'm torn. I like both! Call me John McCain -- I play both sides. No, scratch that :^0 (What am I saying?!??!)

I want a forest, just outside the city, walking distance to la beach :^P

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