Build it and they will walk: the suburbs that foster good health

Jason Dowling  |  City Editor for The Age

If you design suburbs so walking to public transport, shops and parks is an easy option, people will walk – that is the simple and clear finding of long-term Australian research.

urban sprawl

Health and planning experts are urging governments to make health a feature of planning laws and city growth strategies.

Researchers monitored the amount of walking by more than 1400 people building homes in new developments in Perth. Readings were taken before moving in and about 12 months later.

The results, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, showed transport-related walking declined and recreational walking increased.

Read the full story here

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ABS population figures: we’re growing, especially in WA

12 February 2013 — Western Australian continues to record the fastest population growth rate of all states and territories, 3.3 per cent, according to the latest demographic figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that will have an impact on planning for a more sustainable development industry.

Tasmania recorded the slowest growth rate at 0.2 per cent.

The figures, which cover from 30 June 2011 to 30 June 2012 and were released in December last year, found that Australia’s population increased to 22,683,600, up by 359,600 during the 12-month period.

This places the annual population growth rate for the year ended 30 June 2012 at 1.6 per cent, up from a low of 1.1 per cent for the year ending March 2011.

The Bureau says the growth of Australia’s population has two components: natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths) and net overseas migration.

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Healthy Cities Conference to examine “Creating Regional Cities – harnessing social capital”

In 2007 Jeffrey Bridge wrote the following article… how much progress we have made?

Over the past decade, environmental sustainability has emerged as a prominent theme in the community development literature. In fact, the concept has become a standard feature of most economic and social development plans. Most models of sustainable community development stress the importance of widespread participation in the decision-making process.

Unfortunately, community studies document numerous barriers to broad involvement and the high level of activeness envisioned by proponents of sustainable community development. In searching for ways to overcome these barriers, scholars and policymakers have embraced the idea that we can enhance efforts to create more sustainable communities by increasing the local stock of social capital. We examine this line of reasoning in light of what we view as the most important conceptual issues surrounding the relationship between social capital and sustainable community development.

We conclude that before social capital is endorsed as a central component of public policy, much work remains to be done in terms of developing a more precise definition of the concept, situating it within extant theories of community, constructing better measures of social capital, documenting the activities and networks most important in building social capital, and gaining a better understanding of the forms of social capital that are most important in developing sustainable communities.

You can download the full paper here http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-682X.2001.tb01127.x/pdf

The 5th Healthy Cities: Working Together to Achieve Liveable Cities Conference

June 6-8 2012 Geeelog, Victoria, Australia

Sustainable Cities for All

EPA Sustainability

Many models of social sustainability have been proposed in the previous few decades, with the majority of these recognising a co-dependent interaction between three basic elements. These are generally recognised as community/social, environmental and economic. The interaction of these elements impacts on issues of equity, diversity, interconnectedness and acceptance; and there is widespread recognition that healthy communities are communities that accept and foster these ideals.

Of course addressing social sustainability in a meaningful way extends far beyond that of the built environment and requires a strong commitment from government, policy-makers and the greater community itself and has far greater public health connotations. However, it is important for us, as professionals within the property and construction sector, to be mindful of these models and ideas. People residing in urban environments spend up to 90% of their time contained by the built environment; so our influence and contribution to this environment, and consequently the effect on our interactions with and within it, is very significant.

read the full story here
Healthy Cities Conference 2012 – June 6-8 Geelong
The 5th Healthy Cities: Working Together to Achieve Liveable Cities Conference will be a platform for Government and Industry sector professionals to discuss causes, effects and solutions that relate to population health, sustainability, natural resource management, transport, climate change, urban design and more.

Related articles

Jason Corburn’s Keynote Address at The International Conference of Urban Health in 2010

Jason is Associate Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning and the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. He also co-directs UC Berkeley’s joint Masters in City Planning/Masters in Public Health degree program.

He is the author of “Towards the Healthy City”.

Jason Corburn at the ICUH 2010 from The New York Academy of Medicine on Vimeo.

Insurers reject proposals for mandatory flood cover

THE nation’s largest insurers have unanimously rejected proposals for mandatory flood cover and supported calls for a new government inquiry into disaster mitigation to find better ways to protect against natural catastrophes… more

Technology and its Place in Healthy Cities

Local Ecommerce and Sustainable Towns – Will our Regional towns and communities be saved by digital highways?

The evidence is clear. Regional identity and lifestyle is in decline. This decline has been long term and gradual. The issue is what are we going to do about it? Decades of concern and initiatives have done little to strengthen the future prosperity of regional communities. To turn things around and deliver the community’s aspirations for the future of their children and grandchildren will clearly require a new approach.

How do we….create great regions to live, work and play… places of Opportunity & Lifestyle?

This is a familiar vision for most regional communities and is a very practical definition of what “sustainability” means at the grassroots. Recent natural disasters in regional Australia have only added to the pressure on regional communities and the vitality of local business.

To counter the momentum of long term economic and social decline it will require strategic interventions of significant scale and impact. In regional communities the critical focus of sustainable growth, where change strengthens the community, centres on the ability deliver well paid local jobs for families across the region.

Strategic interventions need to deliver new skills, increased productivity, increased internet capabilities and the adaption of regional identity and lifestyle in a world subject to climate change and increasing energy costs.

The integration of Local Ecommerce into regional towns and communities may well be a once in generational opportunity to revitalise regional Australia. But what works in the city is different to what works in the regions. This paper provides insights and tips to how to develop local ecommerce that will promote the growth of regional local business and why this approach needs to be significantly different from city based local ecommerce.

Robert Prestipino, Director, Vital Places QLD will speak at the Healthy Cities: Making Cities Liveable Conference

Wednesday 27th to Friday 29th July  2011 at the  Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa NOOSA, Queensland