This year’s Congress for the New Urbanism started on Wednesday. The focus is on Health and the built environment. I find it quite difficult to explain the varying connection between health and the built environment to those less informed about the complexities of urbanism. However, I think it comes down to a simple idea. Walking more is simply better for you. This can be easily illustrated by the condition at our office building in Providence. We have a great historic stair right there when you walk into the foyer. The elevator is behind the stair, out of sight and less convenient then the stair. Most everyone in our office heads right up this stair and climbs the four floors to the office. When I’m bring people to the office who are not accustom to climbing four flights you can really note the differences in fitness by the time it takes a visitor to catch their breadth. We are lucky in our office because the stair is more convenient, and, frankly, more fun to take then the clunky elevator. Our health is a unintended benefit to the way our office’s built environment function. Walkable, beautiful places are more fun to be in and therefor us humans will actually exert ourselves more to enjoy being in them. Urbanism is just like the stair in my office. More fun to be in, and improves your health.
I hope to post some more health and urbanism connection soon. If you have a health and urbanism connection of your own please comment below.