Active Design, Physical Activity and Health

The design and conditions of buildings, streets, public transportation and parks influence physical activity, use of active transportation and other healthy behavior. A neighborhood’s features can also impact the safety of its residents.

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Adults reporting mice or rats outside

Mice and rats are a source of household allergens connected to developing or worsening asthma.

Neighborhood poverty

The percent of households with incomes below the federal poverty level. Households without sufficient resources are often deprived of access to items such as health care and good quality housing that are needed to maintain good health.

Monthly bicycle use

Adults reporting having ridden a bicycle at least once a month in the past year.

Recent exercise

Adults reporting exercise in the past 30 days (from when they were surveyed). Regular exercise is a key way to stay healthy.

Overweight or obesity (adults)

People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Bicycle injury emergency department visits

Bicycle injury ED visits can indicate the overall safety of cycling in the city - for transporation or other purposes.

Pedestrian injury emergency department visits

Pedestrian injury ED visits can indicate the safety of walking for transporation.

Tree canopy cover

Tree canopy coverage is the percent of a neighborhood that is shaded by trees. Tree shade can lower a neighborhood's temperatures, can make it more comfortable and attractive to walk and stay active.

Premature mortality

The rate of people who die before age 65 can indicate the overall health of a population.

Perception of neighborhood safety

Adults reporting their neighborhood is safe from crime. Whether people perceive their neighborhood as safe can affect whether they will spend time outside, use parks, and use active and sustainable forms of transportation. It can also affect mental well-being.

Sidewalk area

Sidewalks are important for commuting, businesses, and physical activity. Greater sidewalk area can contribute to a safer pedestrian environment, support vibrant business districts and can foster social interaction among residents.

Walking distance to a park

The percentage of the population who live within walking distance to a park: a quarter-mile or less to entrances of smaller sites, such as sitting areas and playgrounds, and half-mile or less to entrances of larger parks. Increased access to green space and open space can contribute to increased levels of physical activity.

Bicycle network coverage

Bike lanes can improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety, physical activity, and sustainable transportation use. An increase in percentage of streets with bike lanes can indicate a safer cycling environment in a neighborhood which may increase overall cycling.

Walking distance to a subway station

The percentage of population within a quarter-mile of a subway station entrance. When more people have convenient access to the transit system, they're more likely to use it. Subway access encourages active transportation, which improves the health of residents.