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Other Environmental Topics

Urban Design & Health

By Matthew Palagyi

With the threat of the coronavirus on our indoor exercise facilities, more than ever do we need a more robust emphasis on accessible and safe outdoor recreation. In cities, where much of park funding has seen major losses due to the pandemic and space is fought for by a multitude of uses from buildings, cars, transit, and pedestrians, many have adopted street-wide bicycle lanes and expanded outdoor seating for restaurants, thus cutting cars completely from these streets.. And this is needed. Living in major metropolitan areas, although often more walkable and mobile than its surrounding suburbs, aren’t without its disparate mental health risks. When comparing urban to rural living, anxiety disorders increase by 21%, mood disorders 39%, and schizophrenia more than doubles.

With city life agreeably being more chaotic and requiring constant focus and attention, our built environment should serve to reverse this. Studies by Jenny Roe show the types of spaces that can reduce stress and anxiety and foster a more comfortable and attractive interactive space. Using wearable technologies to assess the overall stress response, in addition to measuring perceived moods and rest through various phycological scales, Roe is able to collect data on how an individual feels in response to interacting with a space. Through this research, albeit not serving as a blueprint visually, landscape architects and urban designers can better understand the types of strategies to effectively build spaces that aim to invite and be inclusive. Some examples include linear parks and trails, shade-covered seating, and yes, even removing cars. Car-free streets are one of the most direct strategies to create more recreational space, especially among children. And these strategies shouldn’t just end after the pandemic. With a host of chronic diseases related to stress and lack of physical activity, Covid-19 isn’t the only disease urban design can serve to reverse.


The Dichotomy of

Gene-Environmental Factors

on Alzheimer’s

by Safa Rana

Environmental Links to Autism

by Brittney Douress

Risk Factors of Breast Cancer:

Environmental Focus

by Natalie S. Schulhof

E-cigarettes vs. Conventional

Cigarettes and their Health Effects on the Environment

by Elizabeth Do

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