Building A Healthier Environment

The built environment plays a big role in public health, and the professions involved in creating the built environment need to pay more attention to building healthy places, argues Clark Manus, president of the American Institute of Architects.

"Gaining a more balanced, integrated view of how we interact with the environment and one another is the role of design. Moving toward such a balance goes far beyond diet and exercise. It means giving people choices in how they negotiate their environment. It means restoring whole neighborhoods to health.

In suburban America, as well as within many cities, it's almost impossible to buy a stamp, shop at a grocery store, or drop your kids at a basketball game without driving halfway to hell and back. This is a direct result of poor design. Whether it's neglected open spaces, out-of-the-way stairs, limited access to recreation and cultural facilities, lack of generous sidewalks or retail density, or the absence of bike paths-the list goes on-every piece of the larger puzzle affects our health."

The AIA has instituted a new program aimed at splicing health-focused recommendations into public policy surrounding the built environment.

Full Story: A PRESCRIPTION for a Healthier Nation

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