Code Score: For Those Who Want to Keep Score
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Happy City Elements of Wellbeing
ResilienceTopicReport or Book TitleSummaryAuthor(s); Organization; PublicationYearLinkBelongingSociabilityJoyHealthEquityEaseResilienceMeaning
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsBest bet for tax revenue: mixed-use downtown development
Urban mixed-use mid-rise is 25 to 59 times more revenue per acre than its suburban counterparts.Joe Minicozzi; Urban32010
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsBuilding a Mixed-Use, Compact City
London, Ontario estimates sprawling development patterns will cost an extra $2.7 billion in capital expenditures plus $1.7 billion in operating expenses over compact growth, or $4.4 billion extra over 50 years.City of London, Ontario2013
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsBuilding Better BudgetsSmart growth development generates 10x more tax revenue per acre than conventional suburban development and costs less by an average of 10% on ongoing delivery of police, ambulance and fire services; Income per acre is as high as 1,150 times more under Nashville's downtown form-based code, compared to suburban counterparts.Smart Growth America2013
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsCity of Melbourne’s Transport StrategyIncreasing the level of walking connectivity in Melbourne by 10% estimated to add $2.1 billion to the economy.SGS Economics & Planning; City of Melbourne, Australia2018
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsImplementing and managing urban forests: A much needed conservation strategy to increase ecosystem services and urban wellbeingTrees saves big cities about $505 million each year.T. Endrenya, R. Santagatab, A. Pernab, C. DeStefanob R. F. Rallob, S. Ulgiatib; Ecological Modeling2017
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsPlanIt CalgaryCalgary estimated compact development will save the City $11 billion in infrastructure costs, making it 33% less costly to build the roads, transit, water, recreation, fire, and schools that it expects to need over the next 60 years.City of Calgary2009
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsSettlement Pattern and Form with Service Cost AnalysisHalifax's annual cost per household is more than two times more per suburban households than for urban.Halifax Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia2005
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsSmart Growth & Conventional Suburban Development An infrastructure case study completed for the EPAAn EPA-sponsored study indicates compact infrastructure is up to 47% less expensive than conventional development patterns.Jonathan Ford; Morris Beacon2010
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsSoul of the CommunityEmotional connection to community equals highest rates of GDP growth.Knight Foundation & Gallup2011
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsSuburban Sprawl: Exposing Hidden Costs, Identifying InnovationsWhile suburbs are growing 160% faster than cities in Canada, suburban dwellers pay only half the cost of roads that city dwellers pay.Smart Prosperity Institute2013http://thecostofsprawl.com00000010
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsThe Business Case for WalkingAuckland’s city centre has half a million walking trips every weekday and traffic delaying pedestrians in Queen Street can cost $11.7 million a year.Auckland Council's Research and Monitoring Unit2018
ProfitBuilding City Coffers: Increased Tax Base and Decreased CostsThe New Climate EconomyCities can save $17 trillion collectively by preventing urban sprawl.Global Commission on the Economy and Climate2018
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Commercial and Home ValuesHow Much is a Point of Walk Score Worth?If your Walk Score increases from 60 to 80, that increased walkability translates into a $100,000 home price premium.Redfin2016
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Commercial and Home ValuesThe Next Real Estate BoomHomes in walkable urban neighborhoods have experienced less than half the average decline in price from the housing peak in the mid-2000s.Brookings2010
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Commercial and Home ValuesThe Walkability Premium in Commercial Real Estate InvestmentsA 10-point increase in Walk Score increases commercial property values by 5% to 8%.Gary Pivo, Jeffrey Fisher; Indiana University, University of Arizona2010
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Commercial and Home ValuesWalk this WayOver time in D.C. metropolitan neighborhoods, each step up the walkability ladder adds $9 per square foot to annual office rents, $7 per square foot to retail rents, over $300 per month to apartment rents, and nearly $82 per square foot to home values.Chris Leinberger, Mariela Alfonzo; Brookings Institute2012
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Commercial and Home ValuesWalking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S. CitiesA one-point increase in Walk Score (based on number of destinations within a short distance) is associated with between a $700 and $3,000 increase in home values.Joe Cortright, Impresa, Inc.; CEOs for Cities2009
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Market PreferenceCore Values: Why American Companies are Moving DowntownU.S. companies are gravitating to walkable downtown neighborhoods, from the very small to the Fortune 500. These moves include relocations, consolidations, and expansions to places with considerably higher Walk Scores, Transit Scores, and Bike Scores from where the businesses were previously located. Companies are making their move downtown to attract and retain talented workers, to build brand identity and company culture, to support creative collaboration, to be closer to customers and business partners, to centralize operations, and to support the triple bottom line.Smart Growth America; Cushman & Wakefield; George Washington University School of Business’ Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis2015
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Market PreferenceInvesting in Place for Economic Growth and Competitiveness66% of Americans believe that investing in schools, transportation choice, walkability, and key community features is the best way to strengthen the economy. Less than 10% of the massive Millennial and Boomer Generations want traditional, auto-dependent suburban living, even though over 40% live there today. "Economics of place" is likely to drive economic growth and development, with traditional business recruitment strategies seen as less important than investing in local amenities and quality of life.American Planning Association2014
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Market PreferenceNAR 2015 Community Preference Survey
Americans prefer walkable communities more so than they have in the past. 79% place importance on being within easy walking distance of neighborhood destinations.National Association of Realtors
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Market PreferencePrinciples of Urban Retail Planning and DevelopmentAll national retailers pay attention to Walk Score, often requiring a score of 80 or higher to consider adding a new store downtown. However, in the 51 largest U.S. metro areas, only 12% of neighborhoods are walkable, which is down from 19% in 1970. The 50/50/50 rule says that Main Street retail’s ideal sweet spot enjoys at least 50,000 people earning at least $50,000 per year, or 50,000 cars going by a store.Bob Gibbs2011
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Market PreferencePrinciples of Urban Retail Planning and DevelopmentTrying to build a downtown out of just specialty shops does not work because form follows anchor. Only about 30,000 square feet of retail is supportable without an anchor. An anchor may be a baby box retailer as well as non-retail amenities. A library, post office, and courthouse are all strong civic anchors. In most places, the anchor pays half the rent of in-line stores, in exchange for their big advertisements and draw.Bob Gibbs2011
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Market PreferenceStill SuburbanSuburbs are still growing faster than cities in Canada.Dr. David Gordon2016
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Market PreferenceSuburban Sprawl: Exposing Hidden Costs, Identifying Innovations
The rising Millennial generation coupled with the retiring Baby Boomers make up half of the U.S. population, and are driving the demand for a walkable urban alternative in downtowns. Across North America, downtown residents are frequently younger and better educated, and being close to work and public transit are their top two reasons for living downtown.Smart Prosperity Institute2013http://thecostofsprawl.com00000010
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Market PreferenceSurging City Center Job Growth
This trend toward more new jobs in city centers, with employment growth shrinking in the suburbs, has built up momentum in the last several years. Businesses are choosing to locate in walkable locations, to attract younger workers who prefer a less car-dependent, more urban lifestyle.Joe Cortright; City Observatory2015
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Market PreferenceThe New Real Estate Mantra: Location Near Public TransportationProperty values within walking distance of public transit stations are 40% higher than other properties in the same region.American Public Transportation Association2013
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Market PreferenceMillennials are 21% more likely to buy their first homes near city centers than Generation X.Elora Raymond of Clemson University, Jessica Dill of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Yongsung Lee of Georgia Institute of Technology; Journal of Planning Education and Research2018
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Cycling and WalkingCopenhagen's Bike AccountOne mile on a bike is a $.42 economic gain to society in Copenhagen, while one mile driving is a $.20 loss.City of Copenhagen2012
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Cycling and WalkingLittle Big ShiftReallocating 2% of Portland's streets to transit and cycling would boost the people-moving capacity by 60%.Siteline Institute2018
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Cycling and WalkingPedaling to ProsperityBiking saves U.S. riders billions a year. Average annual operating cost of a bicycle: $308. Average annual operating cost of a car: $8,220. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of bicycle commuters grew 40% in the US. The average American household spends more on transportation (16%) than on food or healthcare. Low-income families may spend up to 55% of income on transportation when they live in auto-centric environments.Forbes2012
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Cycling and WalkingPenny Wise, Pound Fuelish: New Measures of Housing + Transportation AffordabilityThis guide to be an accessible and useful statement of the basic research theory behind the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) Housing and Transportation Index (H+T Index). Under the traditional definition of housing affordability (30% or less of household income spent on housing), seven out of ten U.S. neighborhoods are considered “affordable” to the typical household. But in almost all metro regions of the country, when the definition of affordability includes both housing and transportation costs—at 45% of income—the number of neighborhoods affordable to households earning the area median income decreases significantly. Nationally, the number of affordable neighborhoods declines to 40 percent, resulting in a net loss of 48,000 neighborhoods with combined housing and transportation costs that stress the average family’s budget. An important tidbit in CNT’s classic graphs correlating a decrease in driving with an increase in density (as well as graphs from other sources showing the correlation) is that the greatest incremental improvements in performance - the greatest reductions in per-household driving - come at the lower end of the scale, as one moves from large-lot sprawl to moderately sized lots in more compact neighborhoods. In particular, the graph shows a dramatic drop in driving as one moves from one household per acre to ten households per acre; a more gradual decline between ten and twenty households per acre; and almost negligible decreases for additional density beyond twenty households per acre. We do not need large increases in density to make a difference.Center for Neighborhood Technology2010
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Cycling and WalkingSpenders and SaversThe biggest difference between spenders and savers is car expenses.Raj Chawla; Ted Wannell; Statistics Canada2005
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Cycling and WalkingThe Next Real Estate BoomEliminating one car from a typical household budget can allow that family to afford a $100,000 larger mortgage.Patrick Doherty, Christopher Leinberger; Brookings Institute2010
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Cycling and WalkingThe True Cost of Commuting$10 saved for each 10 mile commute.Mr. Money Mustache2011
ProfitBuilding Wealth: NatureBenefits of urban parks: a systematic review. A report for IPFRA.This academically rigorous review of 86 peer-reviewed studies published since 2000 shows that parks contribute to human and social wellbeing via 1) biodiversity (as measured through species richness); 2) property prices; 3) physical activity and reduced obesity; and 4) local cooling. “Nature and green spaces contribute directly to public health by reducing stress and mental disorders, increasing the effect of physical activity, reducing health inequalities, and increasing perception of life quality and self-reported general health. Indirect health effects are conveyed by providing arenas and opportunities for physical activity, increasing satisfaction of living environment and social interactions, and by different modes of recreation ... “The direct health benefits for which we found evidence on positive effects included psychological wellbeing, reduced obesity, reduced stress, self-perceived health, reduced headache, better mental health, stroke mortality, concentration capacity, quality of life, reduced Attention Disorder Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms, reduced cardiovascular symptoms and reduced mortality for respiratory disorders, reduced health complaints, overall mortality, longevity, birth weight and gestational age in low socioeconomic population, post-disaster recovery, and reduced cortisol.” ... The evidence for positive impacts of urban parks on physical activity was highlighted as “strong,” with the academically established evidence in support of other effects found to be at least “moderate.”Cecil Konijnendijk et al; The International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration2013
ProfitBuilding Wealth: NatureDominant control of agriculture and irrigation on urban heat island in India
Land-use decisions affect local and regional climate patterns by the Urban Cool Island Effect.Rahul Kumar, Vimal Mishra; Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar; Buzan, Jonathan; Huber, Matthew; Purdue University; Kumar, Rohini; UFZ-Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research; Shindell, Drew; Duke University2017
ProfitBuilding Wealth: Naturei-Tree Tools"For every dollar invested in planting [trees], cities see an average $2.25 return on their investment each year." That's estimated at a median value of $967,000 per square kilometer of tree cover, for the 10 megacities surveyed.David Nowak, ScottMaco; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service2018
ProfitBuilding Wealth: NatureThe Impact of Greenways on Property Values: Evidence from Austin, TexasProximity to green space is a significant monetary value for both retail and residential uses, with increases of up to one-fifth the value of the property.S. Nicholls, J.L. Crompton, National Recreation and Parks Association; Journal of Leisure Research2005
ProfitBuilding Wealth: NatureUrban & Community Forestry ProgramOf 5 U.S. cities surveyed, every dollar invested in planting trees produced an average $2.25 return on investment each year.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service2018
ProfitBuilding Wealth: NatureUrban Street Trees: 22 BenefitsStreet trees contribute to wellness, and have about $90k of direct benefit for each tree, over its lifespan, making the return on investment of a tree about 150x.Dan Burden2006
ProfitReducing Costs of Illnesses: Obesity and OverweightGlobal, regional, and national disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 333 diseases and injuries and healthy life expectancy (HALE) for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2016: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016Almost 30% of people globally are obese, expected to top 50% by 2050. The healthcare cost to treat obesity globally is expected to top $1.2 trillion annually by 2050, 46% of which will fall on the U.S. In 2014, the U.S. spent $324 billion to treat illnesses related to being overweight.Simon Hay et al; The Lancet, Volume 390, Issue 10100, 1260 - 13442017
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyAlbuquerque, New MexicoOnce suburban land use is removed, the Route 66 urban corridor is expected to deliver up to $15 million more in taxes per year.Joe Minnicozzi with PlaceMakers, DPZ, Gridics, and CNT for the City of Albuquerque201800000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyArlington County, VirginiaThe maximum density available under the Arlington County's form-based code for Crystal City is one of the deciding factors that drew Amazon to commit their headquarters there. Arlington County, Virginia201800000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyBirmingham, MichiganNew code enabled 2.5 million sf of commercial and residential development; 19,000 population; 55 acresCity of Birmingham, Michigan201500000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyColumbia Pike: Arlington, VirginiaSince the code was adopted in February, 2003 nearly $500 million in Form Based Code designed projects have either been approved, are in the approval process or will going through soon. The projects are mixed-use and range in size from 16 townhouses to a 269 unit condominium with 40,000 square feet of retail space and close to 500 underground parking spaces.Arlington County, Virginia201700000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyColumbia, South CarolinaNew code enabled 36-square block area governed by the Columbia SmartCode; developer purchased land from the State Department of Mental Health for $15 million.City of Columbia, South Carolina200800000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyDoña Ana County, New MexicoThe county-wide comp plan's preferred scenario is enabled by right under the county-wide hybrid form-based and use-based code, and is estimated to save $4 million a year in cost of utilities, roads, school transportation, and maintenance assumes a consolidated water/wastewater utilitySmart Growth America and RCLCO for PlaceMakers, DPZ, CNT, and Doña Ana County2017
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyDover, New HampshireNew code enabled Project 1: High-end multi-family residential project houses 42 units; structured parking; Project 2: Conversion of 120,000 square feet of office space within a former mill to 120 units of residential housing in three phases.Dover, New Hampshire201900000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyEl Paso, Texas SmartCodeNew code enabled $50 million in new development entitled within 3 years of SmartCode adoption (during recession), including Aldea de El Paso (2008); El Paso International Airport (2009, 3,000 acre redevelopment of airport and adjacent industrial complex); Medical Center of the Americas (2010, neighborhood anchored by medical complex; 140 acres); Miner Village (2007, brownfield). City of El Paso, Texas200900000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyFitchburg, Wisconsin SmartCodeIf all of the development projected to occur in Fitchburg over the next 10 years were to be done under the Fitchburg SmartCode District, there would a reduction of approximately 25,102 metric tons of CO2 every year, 25% less than existing development patterns. This is thanks to a collective savings of 57.6 million miles per year through internal trip capture. This is equivalent of taking 4,800 cars off the road over the next 10 years. People would be able to walk and bike to 25% more of their daily needs.PlaceMakers and Hall Planning & Engineering for City of Fitchburg201000000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyForm-Based Codes: Measured Success Through both Mandatory and Optional ImplementationThis paper adds to the literature on sprawl by detailing the effects of zoning and contrasting those effects with an alternative model, the form-based code.John M. Barry2009
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyLeander, Texas SmartCodeEconomic analysis projected an increase in tax basis of approx $1 billion due to the SmartCode over previous zoning; 2,300 acresCity of Leander and Capital Metro2004
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyMontgomery, Alabama SmartCodeNew code enabled $100 million in new development built w/in 5 years of SmartCode adoption (during recession), including Hampstead (2009, greenfield). After recession, also enabled Trenholm Court (2016, infill). City of Montgomery, Alabama201600000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyNashville, Tennessee Form-Based CodeNashville is the first city with over $1 billion of new construction under form-based codes; for that new development, the property values grew at 3.5 time that of the region from 2005 to 2013, and returned up to 1,150x more income per acre to the city than suburban patterns. See also Building Better Budgets, 2013.Richard Bernhardt; City of Nashville, Tennessee2013
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyPetaluma, California SmartCode$100 million in new infill development entitled w/in 3 years of SmartCode adoption (pre-recession; but no appreciable other local development for last 20 years.)City of Petaluma, California200600000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyRanson, West Virginia SmartCodeNew code enabled almost 1,000 acres of greenfield entitled with SmartCode adoption, plus Old Town rezoning.City of Ranson, West Virginia201200000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyRe-Zoning Alberta: Smart Regulation for Smart GrowthAlternative planing techniques, including form-based code and performance-based zoning, are put forward as methodologies better suited to environmental goals.Matti Lemmens2009
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudySan Marcos, Texas SmartCode: An Exploration of Policy Options to Mitigate the Negative Effects of Sprawling Development: A Case Study of San Marcos, TXFirst, this research explores policy strategies that can be used to mitigate the negative effects of sprawling development. Second, this research assesses the current policy framework with regard to mitigating the negative effects of sprawling in San Marcos, TX. Third, the results of the assessment are used to make policy recommendations to mitigate the effects of sprawl in San Marcos, TX. Cameron Freberg; applied research project, Dept. of Political Science, Texas State University, in Partial Fulfillment for the Degree of Masters of Public Administration, Spring 20112011
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudySarasota, Florida SmartCodeUrban developments under the city center form-based code deliver up to 4x the ROI to the government as suburban counterparts.Joe Minnicozzi for Sarasota County, Florida2008
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyWest Palm Beach, FloridaNew code enabled Mizner Park in West Palm Beach, FL: property's assessed value increased by over $40 million in 12 yearsCity of West Palm Beach, Florida201900000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyWoodstock, GeorgiaFBC returning 39x more revenue / acre to the City than the Super WalMart, and 4x more jobs / acrePlaceMakers, LLC for City of Woodstock, Georgia201200000010
ProfitForm-Based Code Individual Case StudyZoning For and Against Sprawl: The Case for Form-Based CodesThis paper uses a localized analysis of the relationship between zoning and sprawl to answer two main questions: how does zoning contribute to sprawl, and how do form-based codes attempt to mitigate it?Emily Talen; Journal of Urban Design, 18:2, 175-2002013
PeopleBuilding Connections: Social CapitalExamining Walkability and Social Capital as Indicators of Quality of Life at the Municipal and Neighborhood ScalesPeople living in walkable neighborhoods trust neighbors more, participate in community projects and volunteer more than in non-walkable areas.Shannon Rogers, John Halstead, Kevin Gardner, Cynthia Carlson; University of New Hampshire2010
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingAll-cause mortality associated with physical activity during leisure time, work, sports, and cycling to work.People who cycle to work were 40% less likely to die during the follow-up period.L Andersen et al; Archives of Internal Medicine, 160, 1621-282000
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingAnnual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: Payer- and Service-Specific Estimates
The medical costs to treat obesity in the US for 2008 is estimated at $147 billion.Center for Disease Control; RTI2009
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingAssociation between adiposity outcomes and residential density: a full-data, cross-sectional analysis of 419 562 UK Biobank adult participantsResidential density alone, independent of other factors, was associated with reductions in body fat and obesity. The effect was seen beginning at 1800 residential units per square kilometer (roughly seven units per acre) and was more pronounced beginning at 3200 units per square kilometer (about 13 units per acre). (Below the threshold of 1800 units per square kilometer, increasing density was not helpful.)Chinmoy Sarkar, PhD (U. of Hong Kong), et al.; The Lancet2017
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingBicycling & Walking in the United States 2016 ReportCommunities that invest in bicycling and walking have higher property values, create new jobs, and attract tourists. More jobs are created per dollar spent on pedestrian and cycling amenities than on car-only investments. States with higher rates of bicycling and walking to work also have a higher percentage of the population meeting recommended levels of physical activity, and have lower rates of obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Cycling and walking investments return up to $11.80 for every $1 invested.The Alliance for Biking & Walking2016
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingCycle to school is associated with lower BMI and lower odds of being overweight or obese in a large population-based study of Danish adolescentsCycling to school decreases kids' chance of being overweight or obese.AG Ostergaard et al; Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Volume 92012
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingExercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memoryRegular walking increases memory (hippocampus size) and decreases risk of dementia. Exercise training increased hippocampal volume by 2%, effectively reversing age-related loss in volume by 1 to 2 years.Kirk Erickson et al; University of Pittsburgh2011
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingHarvard University Women’s Health StudyAmong the more than 72,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study, those who walked 3 or more hours/week reduced their risk of a coronary event by 35% compared with women who did not walk. Risks of death from breast and uterine cancer were reduced 19% in those who walked 1 to 3 hours per week, by 54% for walking 3 to 5 hours per week.Harvard University2012
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingInfluence of exercise, walking, cycling, and overall nonexercise physical activity on mortality in Chinese women.Women who cycle for transportation were 35% less likely to die during the follow-up period.CE Matthews, AL Jurj, XO Shu, HL Li, G Yang, Q Li, YT Gao, W Zheng; American Journal of Epidemiology, 165, 1343-502007
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingNeighbourhood walkability and incidence of hypertension: Findings from the study of 429,334 UK Biobank participantsIn the largest-ever study (429,000 subjects in the UK) of the relationship between neighborhood walkability and blood pressure, researchers found that neighborhood walkability, based on a composite index of metrics such as residential and commercial density, the availability of public transit, amount of pedestrian activity, and proximity to attractive destinations, was associated with lower systolic blood pressure, lower diastolic blood pressure, and lower incidence of hypertension.Chinmoy Sarkar, PhD (U. of Hong Kong), et al.; International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health2018
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingPeople for Bikes: Health StatisticsRegular cycling is correlated to a 50% less heart disease, observing people who cycle 20 miles a week compared to those who do not exercise at all. Purdue University2017
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingPhysical Activity, Health Benefits, and Mortality Risk
Combining vigorous exercise and walking each week produced a 50% reduced mortality.Peter Kokkinos2012
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingPromoting Physical Activity Through Healthy Community DesignThe average white male living in a compact community weighs 10 pounds less than his counterpart in a low density subdivision.Lawrence Frank; British Columbia School of Planning2007
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingUniquely Satisfied: Exploring Cyclists Trip SatisfactionCommuters are more satisfied with cycling than driving or taking transit, even in Canadian winter.D. Willis, K Manaugh, A El-Geneidy2013
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingUrban Sprawl and Risk for Being Overweight or ObeseEvery 1% rise in the urban sprawl index increases the risk of obesity by 0.5%.Russ Lopez; Boston University School of Public Health2003
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingWalkability and Body Mass Index: Density, Design, and New Diversity MeasuresResearchers used driver’s license data to collect height, weight, and residential addresses of 453,927 adults living in Salt Lake County and correlated those data with walkability characteristics of the subjects’ home neighborhoods. “Based upon the analysis, a man of average height and weight who lived in the most walkable neighborhood in Salt Lake County would be expected to weigh an average of 10 pounds less than a man living in the least walkable neighborhood. For women, the difference would be 6 pounds.” ... “Approximately doubling the proportion of neighborhood residents walking to work decreases an individual's risk of obesity by almost 10%. Adding a decade to the average age of neighborhood housing decreases women's risk of obesity by about 8% and men's by 13%. Population density is unrelated to weight in four of six models, and inconsistently related to weight measures in two models. Pedestrian-friendly street networks are unrelated to BMI but related to lower risks of overweight and obesity in three of four models.”Ken R. Smith, PhD (U. of Utah) et al.; American Journal of Preventive Medicine2008
PeopleBuilding Health: Cycling and WalkingWorldwide trends in body-mass index, underweight, overweight, and obesity from 1975 to 2016: a pooled analysis of 2416 population-based measurement studies in 128·9 million children, adolescents, and adultsWhile the number of overweight kids is starting to plateau in developed countries, the number worldwide have increased by a factor of 10 in the last 40 years. 124 million boys and girls are obese.Leandra Abarca-Gómez et al; World Health Organization; The Imperial College in London2017
PeopleBuilding Health: LonelinessLoneliness: Start a Conversation14% of the UK, or about 9 million people, often or always feel lonely. This costs the country billions annually. So in early 2018, U.K. Minister of Loneliness, Tracey Crouch, was appointed.Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness2018
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureCARP Survey Reveals How to Avoid Loneliness as We Age“CARP’s social isolation and loneliness survey was completed by 5,308 CARP members from every province and territory, except Nunavut. This poll was conducted by e-mail from April 17, 2017 to March 1th, 2017. 99.4% of respondents were over 55. The combined effects of living near a park and going to parks frequently were about as good at reducing loneliness as being married.” For purposes of comparison, the effects of living near and frequently visiting a library were also found quite beneficial in reducing loneliness, “but not quite as substantial as the benefits of living near parks.” The same was true of living near “high quality” public transit. The findings were unaffected by socio-economic status.Canadian Association of Retired Persons2017
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureEffect of Greening Vacant Land on Mental Health of Community-Dwelling AdultsCleanup and greening of vacant lots in lower-income neighborhoods produced mental health benefits. “This citywide cluster randomized trial examined 442 community-dwelling sampled adults living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, within 110 vacant lot clusters randomly assigned to 3 study groups. Participants were followed up for 18 months preintervention and postintervention ... The greening intervention involved removing trash, grading the land, planting new grass and a small number of trees, installing a low wooden perimeter fence, and performing regular monthly maintenance. The trash cleanup intervention involved removal of trash, limited grass mowing where possible, and regular monthly maintenance. The control group received no intervention.” ... “Among 342 participants included in the analysis, feeling depressed significantly decreased by 41.5% and self-reported poor mental health showed a reduction of 62.8% for those living near greened vacant lots compared with control participants. The remediation of vacant and dilapidated physical environments, particularly in resource-limited urban settings, can be an important tool for communities to address mental health problems, alongside other patient-level treatments.”Eugenia C. South, M.D., M.S., et al.; Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open 2018
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureExposure to Greenness and Mortality in a Nationwide Prospective Cohort Study of WomenWomen living in homes surrounded by higher levels of greenery within a 250-meter radius had a 12% lower mortality rate. Peter James; Jaime Hart, Rachel Banay, Francine Laden; Environ Health Perspect 124:1344–13522016
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureHealth Benefits from Nature Experiences Depend on DoseThe benefits of nature are dose-dependent: people who make long visits (30 minutes or more) to green spaces have lower rates of depression and high blood pressure, and engage in more physical activity, than those who make only short visits; people who visit more frequently exhibit greater social cohesion and engage in more physical activity than those who visit less. “A dose-response analysis for depression and high blood pressure suggest that visits to outdoor green spaces of 30  minutes or more during the course of a week could reduce the population prevalence of these illnesses by up to 7% and 9% respectively. Given that the societal costs of depression alone in Australia are estimated at AUD$12.6 billion per annum, savings to public health budgets across all health outcomes could be immense.”Danielle F. Shanahan (U. of Queensland AUS), et al.; Nature: Scientific Reports 2016
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureHigh School Landscapes and Student Performance“This study investigated 101 public high schools in southeastern Michigan to examine the role played by the availability of nearby natural environments in the academic achievement and behavior of high school students. All analyses controlled for student socio-economic status, racial/ethnic makeup, building age, and size of enrollment.” ... “The results reveal that nature exposure beneficially affects student performance. Specifically, views with greater quantities of natural features (e.g., trees, shrubs) from classroom as well as cafeteria windows were associated with higher standardized test scores, graduation rates, and percentages of students planning to attend college, and lower occurrences of criminal behavior.” ... “In addition, the results suggest that the trees and shrubs viewed from the lunch sites and classroom windows need to be close to the viewer to be of greater benefit. Finally, large expanses of landscape lacking in natural features had a negative influence on test scores, intentions to attend college, and college plans. Such landscapes included large areas of lawn, parking lots, and bordering farmlands.”Rodney H. Matsuoka (doctoral dissertation, U. of Michigan)2008
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureLongitudinal Effects on Mental Health of Moving to Greener and Less Green Urban AreasIn a British study of 1064 individuals who relocated during the study period, people who move from a less green neighborhood to a greener one experienced an immediate improvement in mental health that was sustained for at least 3 years after they moved. The findings held up even after the authors adjusted their data to remove effects from other factors likely to affect mental health over time – such as income, employment and education – along with factors related to personality.Ian Alcock, et al; Environmental Science & Technology 2013
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureMortality in the United States, 2015U.S. life expectancy is in decline for the first time since 1993. 3 of top 4 culprits: heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, and all of which, as the other studies listed here show, are impacted by the forms of our built environment, and how well we integrate nature into cities. Jiaquan Xu, Sherry Murphy, Kenneth Kochanek, Elizabeth Arias; U.S. National Center for Health Statistics; NCHS Data Brief No. 2672016
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureNature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activationMore than 50% of people now live in urban areas. By 2050 this proportion will be 70%. Participants who went on a 90-min walk through a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination and showed reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness compared with those who walked through an urban environment. These results suggest that accessible natural areas may be vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.Gregory Bratmana, Paul Hamiltonb, Kevin Hahnc, Gretchen Daily, James Grossc; PNAS 2015 112 (28) 8567-85722015
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureNeighborhood greenspace and health in a large urban centerNeighborhood tree density is positively associated with significantly higher health perception and better heart health. The study focused on a large urban population center (Toronto, Canada) and combined high-resolution satellite imagery and individual tree data from Toronto with questionnaire-based self-reports of general health perception, cardio-metabolic conditions and mental illnesses from the Ontario Health Study. “We find that having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger. We also find that having 11 more trees in a city block, on average, decreases cardio- metabolic conditions in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $20,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $20,000 higher median income or being 1.4 years younger.”Omid Kardan (U. of Chicago), et al.; Nature: Scientific Reports 2015
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureResidential green space in childhood is associated with lower risk of psychiatric disorders from adolescence into adulthood“Green space can provide mental health benefits and possibly lower risk of psychiatric disorders. This nation-wide study covering >900,000 people [in Denmark] shows that children who grew up with the lowest levels of green space had up to 55% higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder independent from effects of other known risk factors. Stronger association between cumulated green space and risk during childhood constitutes evidence that prolonged presence of green space is important. Our findings affirm that integrating natural environments into urban planning is a promising approach to improve mental health and reduce the rising global burden of psychiatric disorders.”Kristine Engemann (Aarhus U., Denmark), et al.; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) 2019
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureRespiratory and cardiovascular responses to walking down a traffic-polluted road compared with walking in a traffic-free area in participants aged 60 years and older with chronic lung or heart disease and age-matched healthy controls: a randomised, crossover studyParticipants (135 individuals aged 60 years and older, some healthy and some with chronic lung or heart disease) completed a 2 hour walk either along a commercial street in London (Oxford Street) or in an urban park (Hyde Park). Researchers measured heart and lung functions both before and after the exercise. The subjects who walked in the park, whether healthy or with chronic maladies, showed significant improvement in pulmonary and cardiovascular function; those who walked along Oxford Street showed negative effects in those indicators. “Our findings suggest that healthy people, as well as those with chronic cardiorespiratory disorders, should minimize walking on streets with high levels of pollution because this curtails or even reverses the cardiorespiratory benefits of exercise. Instead, walking exercise should be enjoyed in urban green space areas away from high density traffic.”Rudy Sinharay, MBBS (National Heart and Lung Institute and MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College, London, UK); The Lancet 2018
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureSynopsis of 2010 Research Papers: The Key BenefitsThis somewhat brief report is very good but, frustratingly, is not annotated and has only a cursory bibliography that fails to include the key study. Nonetheless: “Scientists in the Netherlands examined the prevalence of anxiety disorders in more than 345,000 residents and found that people who lived in residential areas with the least green spaces had a 44 percent higher rate of physician-diagnosed anxiety disorders than people who lived in the greenest residential areas. The effect was strongest among those most likely to spend their time near home, including children and those with low levels of education and income. Time spent in the lushness of green environments also reduces sadness and depression. In the Dutch study, the prevalence of physician-diagnosed depression was 33 percent higher in the residential areas with the fewest green spaces, compared to the neighborhoods with the most.”National Recreation and Park Association2010
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureThe Case for Healthy Places: Improving Health Outcomes Through PlacemakingEpigenetics intones that even though you’re dealt your hand of DNA, your behavior has the ability to turn the sound up or down on your genetic predispositions. This study goes as far as to say your zip code is a more accurate health forecast than your genetic code. Project for Public Spaces2016
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureThe role of neighbourhood greenspace in children’s spatial working memory“Even after controlling for confounders, lower quantity of neighbourhood greenspace was related to poorer spatial working memory. Importantly, neighbourhood deprivation did not modify this relationship. Therefore, lower quantity of greenspace was related to poorer spatial working memory similarly in deprived and non-deprived neighbourhoods. Children living in greener urban neighbourhoods have better spatial working memory.” The sample was 4,758 11-year-olds living in urban areas in England.Eirini Flouri (University College London), et al.; British Journal of Educational Psychology 2018
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureUrban greenness and mortality in Canada's largest cities: a national cohort studyResearchers examined a database of “approximately 1,256,000 individuals,” a nationally representative sample from the Canadian Census representing residents of Canada’s 30 largest metro areas. Census information was compared to tax return data (to control for socioeconomic factors), the Canadian mortality database, and neighborhood greenness measured by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Examining a decade’s worth of data, the authors found “decreased risks of mortality in the range of 8–12 percent from all causes of death examined with increased greenness around participants’ residence,” when neighborhood greenness was measured within 250 meters and 500 meters of the residence. The greatest beneficial effects of a greener neighborhood were found for respiratory diseases. The researchers noted that “controlling for exposures to ambient nitrogen dioxide strengthened the associations substantially.”Dan L. Crouse, PhD (U. of New Brunswick), et al.; The Lancet Planetary Health2017
PeopleBuilding Health: NatureView through a window may influence recovery from surgeryYou don’t have to be touching nature to be healed by it. Just looking out a window at a garden is proven to increase your recovery rate. This psychological and physical boost is a micro-restorative experience. This early study by Roger Ulrich set in motion a vast inquiry.Roger Ulrich; Science1984