Researchers calculate the healthiest city density

Researchers Calculate the Healthiest City Density

BY KELSEY E. THOMAS | OCTOBER 11, 2017

(click above to read the article, or click here to see the actual research study that shows populations that live in dense urban, walkable environments have less obesity and health related issues than populations that live in sprawling, suburban developments)

"New research finds that city dwellers are actually healthier — and happier — than their suburban counterparts, much of it due to the large amounts of walking, as well as other spontaneous physical and social activities, that can be done in an urban setting. 

In areas of denser suburban sprawl (about 18 homes per hectare), driving is often the best or only option to get around, leading to higher rates of obesity and lower rates of exercise. Those in more spread out suburban areas with plenty of open spaces and parks were healthier than their more tightly packed (and, generally, less wealthy) suburban counterparts, but still lagged behind dense inner cities in terms of health and exercise.

The study’s findings reinforce Jane Jacob’s famous idea that the safest streets — and those with the most socially engaged residents — are an active “sidewalk ballet,” filled with a steady flow of pedestrians and “eyes on the street.” Researchers in Philadelphiaand Italy have put Jacob’s theory to the test, and found it to be spot on.

Of course, density on its own doesn’t make for automatically healthy residents. An analysis released earlier this year pinpointed nine factors — including affordable housingaccess to healthy food and paid sick leave — that contribute to a healthy city."