Affiliated Faculty, NYU Wagner; Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Administration, NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Kristen Day is an Affiliated faculty member in the Wagner School. She is also Professor in the Department of Technology, Culture and Society and also the Associate Dean for Academic Administration at the Polytechnic School of Engineering, New York University. Her research and teaching examines issues of equity and well-being in the planning and design of urban environments for diverse populations. Her current research focuses on the development of walkable urban environments in Chinese cities.
Objective: We examined the connections (1) between the design of the built environment and walking, (2) between the design of the built environment and obesity, and (3) between walking and obesity and income in urban settings in China.
Methods: Six neighborhoods with different built environment characteristics, located in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou, were studied. Data on walking and other physical activity and obesity levels from 1070 residents were collected through a street intercept survey conducted in 2013. Built environment features of 527 street segments were documented using the Irvine–Minnesota Inventory-China (IMI-C) environmental audit. Data were analyzed using the State of Place™ Index.
Results: Walking rates, household income and Body Mass Index (BMI) were related; neighborhoods with a higher State of Place™ Index were associated with higher rates of walking.
Conclusion: This study began to establish an evidence base for the association of built environment features with walking in the context of Chinese urban design. Findings confirmed that the associations between “walkable” built environment features and walking established in existing research in other countries, also held true in the case of Chinese neighborhoods.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of using global positioning system (GPS) methods to understand the spatial context of obesity and hypertension risk among a sample of low-income housing residents in New York City (n = 120). GPS feasibility among participants was measured with a pre- and post-survey as well as adherence to a protocol which included returning the GPS device as well as objective data analysed from the GPS devices. We also conducted qualitative interviews with 21 of the participants. Most of the sample was overweight (26.7%) or obese (40.0%). Almost one-third (30.8%) was pre-hypertensive and 39.2% was hypertensive. Participants reported high ratings of GPS acceptability, ease of use and low levels of wear-related concerns in addition to few concerns related to safety, loss or appearance, which were maintained after the baseline GPS feasibility data collection. Results show that GPS feasibility increased over time. The overall GPS return rate was 95.6%. Out of the total of 114 participants with GPS, 112 (98.2%) delivered at least one hour of GPS data for one day and 84 (73.7%) delivered at least one hour on 7 or more days. The qualitative interviews indicated that overall, participants enjoyed wearing the GPS devices, that they were easy to use and charge and that they generally forgot about the GPS device when wearing it daily. Findings demonstrate that GPS devices may be used in spatial epidemiology research in low-income and potentially other key vulnerable populations to understand geospatial determinants of obesity, hypertension and other diseases that these populations disproportionately experience.
China faces rising rates of overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity among its citizens. Risk is highest in China’s rapidly growing cities and urban populations. Current urban development practices and policies in China heighten this risk. These include policies that support decentralization in land use planning; practices of neighborhood gating; and policies and practices tied to motor vehicle travel, transit planning, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. In this paper, we review cultural, political, and economic issues that influence overweight, obesity, and inactivity in China. We examine key urban planning features and policies that shape urban environments that may compromise physical activity as part of everyday life, including walking and bicycling. We review the empirical research to identify planning and design strategies that support physical activity in other high-density cities in developing and developed countries. Finally, we identify successful strategies to increase physical activity in another growing, high-density city – New York City – to suggest strategies that may have relevance for rapidly urbanizing Chinese cities.
We examine the diffusion of sustainable planning and design concepts into neighbourhood development projects, based on findings of a survey of planners in all 180 cities of five Southern California counties. Sustainable neighbourhood development has particular significance in Southern California owing to the regions’s rapid growth. We compare ‘typical’ and ‘innovative’ neighbourhood developments to determine whether sustainable planning and design concepts are being incorporated in these projects. Although planners agree that ‘innovative’ projects are more likely than ‘typical’ projects to incorporate sustainable planning and design concepts, sustainability is not a high priority even in innovative neighbourhood projects. Our respondents identified significant barriers to and limited opportunities for encouraging sustainable neighbourhood development. These trends in planning and design appear likely to continue unless strong policy and other mechanisms are adopted to encourage sustainable neighbourhood development. The paper concludes with recommendations to promote more sustainable neighbourhood development.
Physical inactivity is one of the most important public health issues in the U.S. and internationally. Increasingly, links are being identified between various elements of the physical—or built—environment and physical activity. To understand the impact of the built environment on physical activity, the development of high-quality measures is essential. Three categories of built environment data are being used: (1) perceived measures obtained by telephone interview or self-administered questionnaires; (2) observational measures obtained using systematic observational methods (audits); and (3) archival data sets that are often layered and analyzed with GIS. This review provides a critical assessment of these three types of built-environment measures relevant to the study of physical activity. Among perceived measures, 19 questionnaires were reviewed, ranging in length from 7 to 68 questions. Twenty audit tools were reviewed that cover community environments (i.e., neighborhoods, cities), parks, and trails. For GIS-derived measures, more than 50 studies were reviewed. A large degree of variability was found in the operationalization of common GIS measures, which include population density, land-use mix, access to recreational facilities, and street pattern. This first comprehensive examination of built-environment measures demonstrates considerable progress over the past decade, showing diverse environmental variables available that use multiple modes of assessment. Most can be considered first-generation measures, so further development is needed. In particular, further research is needed to improve the technical quality of measures, understand the relevance to various population groups, and understand the utility of measures for science and public health.
Purpose – Recent years have witnessed a national policy shift towards involving state and local police in enforcing US federal immigration laws. Critics argue that involving local police in enforcing immigration law will decrease Latino(a) and immigrant residents' willingness to report crime and their cooperation with the police, and will also increase racial profiling and negatively impact documented and undocumented residents. This paper aims to examine Latino(a) residents' perceptions of the police before and after an extended local controversy about involving police in enforcing immigration laws in Costa Mesa, California.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper reports findings of a before-and-after study in the Westside area of the City of Costa Mesa, California. Methods include Spanish and English language telephone surveys of Latino(a) and non-Latino(a) residents in the Westside (n=169 respondents before and n=91 respondents after), conducted in 2002 and in 2007.
Findings – In survey responses, Latino(a) residents report that they are more likely to be stopped by the police in 2007 compared to 2002. Latino(a) respondents also have more negative perceptions of the police, find the police less helpful, feel less accepted in the community, and say that they are less likely to report crimes after the controversy, compared to before.
Originality/value – The findings show the importance of policies that encourage cooperation with and trust of the police. These results can help inform cities about the potential impacts of involving local police in immigration enforcement.
Research on urban design and walking often emphasizes macro-scale features of the physical environment, such as block length and number of intersections, that can be measured remotely using GIS and or aerial photographs. In contrast, urban designers emphasize the importance of micro-scale features in individuals' use and experience of neighbourhood environments. This paper moves beyond examining correlations of individual built environment features and walking, to begin to test proposals about which composite characteristics of the built environment (safety, comfort, etc.) may have the greatest impact on walking. Several urban design characteristics of 11 neighbourhoods throughout California were observed. Self-report, adult walking data on the number and types of walking trips were obtained from surveys administered to parents of 3rd–5th graders. Urban design features related to both accessibility and safety are associated with the amount of walking that adults do in their neighbourhoods. Grouping related urban design variables into indices provides some clarity as to how the built environment may impact walking. Safety emerges as the most important built environment characteristic (of those tested), related to both destination and recreational walking.
Inter-rater reliability is an important element of environmental audit tools. This paper presents results of reliability tests of the Irvine–Minnesota Inventory, an extensive audit tool aimed at measuring a broad range of built environment features that may be linked to active living.
Inter-rater reliability was measured by percentage agreement between observers. Reliability was tested on a broad range of sites in both California and Minnesota.
For the variables that remained in the inventory, in tests conducted at the University of California–Irvine, 76.8% of the variables had >80% agreement among the three raters. In tests conducted at the University of Minnesota, 99.2% of the variables had >80% agreement among the two raters.
Reliability was high for most items. The inventory was modified to eliminate items with low reliability. Differences in the use of the inventory and the goals of the research led to generally higher reliability in Minnesota. Those differences, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.
Abstract The U.S. faces rising rates of overweight and obesity. Active living-urban planning and design to promote physical activity?has emerged as a strategy to combat growing obesity. The active living movement initially targeted mostly middle-class, suburban communities. In this article, I argue that planning for active living must especially address low-income, Black, and Latino communities, where obesity and related health risks are greatest and resources least available. First I review the problem of obesity and related health conditions among low-income, Black, and Latino populations in the U.S., and identify the role of insufficient physical activity in this problem. I then examine physical environment and other factors that shape opportunities for physical activity in low-income communities and communities of color. Finally, I identify strategies that may help to promote active living in urban settings to better serve these communities. Abstract The U.S. faces rising rates of overweight and obesity. Active living-urban planning and design to promote physical activity?has emerged as a strategy to combat growing obesity. The active living movement initially targeted mostly middle-class, suburban communities. In this article, I argue that planning for active living must especially address low-income, Black, and Latino communities, where obesity and related health risks are greatest and resources least available. First I review the problem of obesity and related health conditions among low-income, Black, and Latino populations in the U.S., and identify the role of insufficient physical activity in this problem. I then examine physical environment and other factors that shape opportunities for physical activity in low-income communities and communities of color. Finally, I identify strategies that may help to promote active living in urban settings to better serve these communities.
"This article evaluates California's pioneering Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program, which funds traffic improvement projects designed to improve safety for children's walking and bicycling to school and to increase the number of children who do so."
Existing research typically examines fear in publicspace from women's perspectives. To date, environment–behavior researchers have largely overlooked men'sfear in publicspace, and the role of masculinity in shaping men's perceptions of fear and safety. This paper investigates the intersections of traditional, dominant masculinity—or masculinism—and men'sfear in publicspace, based on interviews with 82 undergraduate men students. Masculinism features qualities such as control, competition, aggression, and physical strength. We argue that, for many men, publicspaces and situations that challenge this masculinist identity may generate fear. Similarly, spaces and situations that promote feelings of safety do so, in part, by bolstering this identity. We employ the lens of masculinity to explore men's feelings of fear of the unknown, heightened awareness and safety, fear of confrontation, and safety in numbers. Conclusions examine implications for the development of masculinity and recommendations for future research.
The Irvine Minnesota Inventory (IMI) was designed to measure environmental features that may be associated with physical activity and particularly walking. This study assesses how well the IMI predicts physical activity and walking behavior and develops shortened, validated audit tools. A version of the IMI was used in the Twin Cities Walking Study, a research project measuring how density, street pattern, mixed use, pedestrian infrastructure, and a variety of social and economic factors affect walking. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the predictive value of the IMI. We find that while this inventory provides reliable measurement of urban design features, only some of these features present associations with increased or decreased walking. This article presents two versions of shortened scales—a prudent scale, requiring association with two separate measures of a physical activity or walking behavior, and a moderate scale, requiring association with one measure of physical activity or walking. The shortened scales provide built environment audit instruments that have been tested both for inter-rater reliability and for associations with physical activity and walking. The results are also useful in showing which built environment variables are more reliably associated with walking for travel—characteristics of the sidewalk infrastructure, street crossings and traffic speeds, and land use are more strongly associated with walking for travel, while factors that measure aesthetics are typically less strongly associated with walking for travel.