Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Urban design influences level of physical activity in Chinese cities

11.02.2015

Chinese cities are different from many Western cities in relation to urban design, and far more densely populated. But a new study by New York University and East China Normal University researchers has found that the design of the built environment influences how much walking and bicycling people do in Chinese cities where obesity and chronic diseases are at highly elevated levels and still rising.

"While not surprising," write the authors in their study published in the journal Preventive Medicine, "this finding is important, as it demonstrates that the association between the design of the built environment and walking, which has been found to be linked in research in Western countries, also holds true in China."

Entitled "Walking, obesity, and urban design in Chinese neighborhoods," the study was authored by Mariela Alfonzo and Kristen Day of NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, Zhan Guo of NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and Lin Lin of East China Normal University. Its principal finding, the researchers write, is "part of emerging evidence that will be of critical importance to persuade local government officials and developers of the value of pursuing more walkable urban development patterns."

Reflecting on China's high rates of obesity and chronic diseases, the researchers set out to explore the impact of the built environment on physical activity in six densely populated neighborhoods in Shanghai and Hangzhou. The chosen communities encompassed urban core, inner-suburban, and outer-suburban areas.

Each was inventoried for ease of walking and bicycling, inclusive of such features as sidewalks, street trees, benches, street widths, and curb cuts. Also, the communities were audited for barriers to pedestrians and bicyclists, such as vendors and parked cars obstructing sidewalks, visible air pollution, bicycle lane hindrances, and overhead pedestrian bridges, which require greater exertion to use to cross the street.

Four hundred and fifty-five Shanghai residents and 615 Hangzhou residents were surveyed for the study in central public spaces in order to assess rates of walking and bicycling for travel and recreation, and for health outcomes, including Body Mass Index (BMI), demographic information, and environmental perceptions.

The higher the neighborhood ranked overall in the "State of Place Index" - a method of categorizing communities' place-quality and walkability based on such urban design characteristics as density, parks and public space, personal safety, and pedestrian infrastructure and amenities (the index encompasses 11 different dimensions in all) - the greater were the levels of walking and bicycling for commuting and recreation that were seen.

According to the study, income levels played a role in how much a respondent walked or bicycled, but not in a predictable way: Both higher and lower income respondents were more likely to have lower BMI, compared to middle income respondents, who were more likely to live in suburban neighborhoods that have auto-oriented transportation and a lack of pedestrian amenities.

Put another way, middle-income respondents were less likely to utilize active-travel options, such as walking and bicycling, as compared with both high- and low- income respondents. Separately, many of those who perceived their neighborhoods as unsuitable for walking actually walked more; it is likely that their alternatives to walking were limited, which presents a social-equity issue.

While the researchers did not examine the food environment, their study recommends that food intake be explored by other researchers in the future to shed further light on the link between income, obesity and walking in Chinese cities. For their own part, the authors plan to follow up their study by examining the impact that each of the 11 individual dimensions that make up the "State of Place Index" has on physical activity centered in Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Media Contact

Robert Polner
robert.polner@nyu.edu
212-998-2337

 @nyuniversity

http://www.nyu.edu 

Robert Polner | EurekAlert!

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Information integration and artificial intelligence for better diagnosis and therapy decisions

24.05.2017 | Information Technology

CRTD receives 1.56 Mill. Euro BMBF-funding for retinal disease research

24.05.2017 | Awards Funding

Devils Hole: Ancient Traces of Climate History

24.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>