Today’s cities are making us fat – they’re Obesogenic. A recent study out of Toronto finds that the characteristic of the built environment can have damaging effects on people’s health by causing obesity and, in turn, diabetes. The Globe and Mail reports on the study:
A poor diet, high in saturated fat and low on fruits and vegetables, causes excess weight. [...] A sedentary lifestyle fuels the problem. That’s why some medical researchers and health offices are joining forces with urban planners to design neighbourhoods that are more conducive to activity.
Healthy eating combined with increases in physical exercise – walking with the kids to school or biking to the cinema – would help to mitigate the rise in the prevalence of obesity over the last two decades.
Further exacerbating the problem is bad access to healthy foods in cities - food deserts.
But there’s hope. The Times Online reports that
Oslo in Norway is an example of a “slim city”, where the built environment is structured to discourage car use and encourage walking and cycling. Urban planning in the Netherlands and Denmark has also incorporated more physical activity in daily lives, lowering obesity rates.
— 60 per cent of all journeys made by Dutch people aged over 60 are by bike.
— 10.4 per cent of Dutch men and 10.1 per cent of women aged 20-60 are obese. In England, 24.9 per cent of males and 25.2 per cent of women over 16 are obese [in US: About one-third of adults (33.8%) are obese]
Using its data of real estate searches by location, Trulia has put together an interactive map of top real estate searches in US cities searched by internationals. The idea is that these cities are the top cities for people looking to immigrate to the US, and it differs based on the immigrant’s native country.
For example, Mexicans search for property listings mostly in El Paso TX and San Diego, CA, while Japanese search for LA and Honolulu.
Shortumentary video on Detroit’s burgeoning bike culture, putting the city’s many unused car lanes to better use.
Meet CityCar, a prototype car designed to meet the demand for enclosed personal mobility – with weather protection, climate control and comfort, secure storage, and crash protection – in the cleanest and most economical way possible. It weighs less than a thousand pounds, parks in much less space than a Smart Car, and is expected to get the equivalent of 150 to 200 miles per gallon of gasoline. Since it is battery-electric, it produces no tailpipe emissions.
The architecture of the CityCar is radical. It does not have a central engine and traditional power train, but is powered by four in-wheel electric motors.
Video on the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan. It has plenty of tilt-shifted aerial shots to make me happy.