Yet another research study points to an area’s walkability having an impact on the health of its residents. This new study, out of the University of Melbourne, found that when the overall walkability of an area is increased, people walk more, even after the novelty may have worn off, and their health and well-being is improved as a result. The study shows that by providing greater access to parks, mass transit, bike paths, shops, and other services and recreation, the health of local residents can be significantly improved.
The study examined the impact of urban planning on active living in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia. More than 1,400 participants building homes in new housing developments were surveyed before relocation to new homes and approximately 12 months later. The research showed “that for every local shop, residents’ physical activity increased an extra 5-6 minutes of walking per week. For every recreational facility available such as a park or beach, residents’ physical activity increased by an extra 21 minutes per week.”
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