EP 334 The Impact of Changing Urban Design

With many young people deciding that the city, once again, is their destination of choice, we wanted to find out whether urban planning today is meeting the needs of this generation. Generations past gave us public water and sanitation, zoning, building codes and roadways that did more to influence our health and well being than medical care. So what about today’s designers? The development of every aspect of the urban landscape–from streets and sidewalks to green spaces, mass transit and housing–fundamentally influences the health and safety of the people who live there. Following on to out previous podcast on the social determinants of health, we take a look at the impacts of the built environment on all aspects of our life and ways in which those who can best design these spaces are often not involved. In the book ‘Changing Places’ John MacDonald, Robert Stokes and our guest, Charles Branas urge us to look anew at the disconnect between those who implement place-based changes, such as planners and developers, and the urban scientists who are now able to rigorously evaluate these changes on how we live. In doing so, we paint the broad picture of what is needed to improve outcomes for those of all socioeconomic backgrounds sharing an urban space. Hot button issues like gentrification, open space, transportation and street environments as well as recreation opportunities are touched upon.