Building communities to promote physical activity: A multi-scale geographical analysis

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The objective of this paper is to make explicit the linkages between specific characteristics in the urban built environment, moderate physical activity (in particular walking and cycling), and public health. The review will take place at three different scales — the region, the city and the city-block. At all three scales, the main interest is placed on accessibility, with the recognition that if distances are short enough and there is high connectivity within neighbourhoods, people might be encouraged to walk or cycle. The paper will draw on urban built environment characteristics from a number of Michigan municipalities, including Detroit, Ann Arbor, Birmingham, East Lansing and Okemos.

Keywords: physical activity; travel behaviour; urban planning and design

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, Michigan State University, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2006

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