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The Built Environment and Public Health



The Built Environment and Public Health

Russell P. Lopez

ISBN: 978-1-118-12212-9 December 2011 Jossey-Bass 432 Pages

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The Built Environment and Public Health

The Built Environment and Public Health explores the impact on our health of the environments we build for ourselves, and how public health and urban planning can work together to build settings that that promote healthy living. This comprehensive text covers origins and foundations of the built environment as a public health focus and its joint history with urban planning, transportation and land use, infrastructure and natural disasters, assessment tools, indoor air quality, water quality, food security, health disparities, mental health, social capital, and environmental justice. The Built Environment and Public Health explores such timely issues as:

  • Basics of the built environment and evidence for its influences

  • How urban planning and public health intersect

  • How infrastructure improvements can address chronic diseases and conditions

  • Meeting the challenges of natural disasters

  • Policies to promote walking and mass transit

  • Approaches to assess and improve air quality and our water supply

  • Policies that improve food security and change how Americans get their food

  • How the built environment can address needs of vulnerable populations

  • Evidence-based design practices for hospitals and health care facilities

  • Mental health, stressors, and health care environments

  • Theories and programs to improve social capital of low-income communities

  • How the built environment addresses issues of health equity and environmental justice

This important textbook and resource includes chapter learning objectives, summaries, questions for discussion, and listings of key terms.

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Preface xi

The Author xv

Part One Background and History

1 Introduction to the Built Environment and Health 3

Dimensions of the Environment 4

Is the Built Environment Really an Environmental Factor? 6

How to Evaluate the Built Environment? 7

Public Perceptions and Assumptions Regarding the Built Environment 8

Cross-Disciplinary Nature of the Study of the Built Environment 9

Placing the Analysis of the Built Environment into a Broader Context 11

Influences on the Built Environment 13

2 History 17

The Pre-Industrial Era 18

The Era of Industrialization and Urbanization: 1825–1930 19

Reform Movements, New Technologies, and Changes in Urban Planning and Architecture: 1825–1930 25

Later Reforms and New Initiatives 1930–1980 32

The Current Era: 1980–2010 and Beyond 38

Part Two Community Design

3 Planning and Urban Design 43

Demographic, Economic, and Social Trends 44

Land Use and Planning Controls 48

Metropolitan Structure and Health 54

4 Transportation Policies 67

Current Patterns of Transportation in the United States 68

Automobiles and Health 73

Highways and Health 77

Mass Transit and Health 78

Bike Safety and Infrastructure 81

Walking and Health 82

5 Healthy Housing and Housing Assistance Programs 91

The Housing Problem 92

The Regulatory Framework 93

6 Infrastructure and Natural Disasters 115

Natural Disasters: An Introduction 116

Natural Disaster Response 125

Part Three Environmental Media

7 Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality 137

Overview 137

Land Use, the Built Environment, and Air Quality 139

Air Pollutants 141

Air Pollution–Associated Health Conditions 149

8 Water 155

Impact of Water on Health 155

Infrastructure 157

Drinking Water 159

9 Food, Nutrition, and Food Security 171

Foodborne Illnesses 172

Food Insecurity 174

Environmental Effects of Farming and Food Production 182

Part Four Population Health

10 Vulnerable Populations 193

The Built Environment and Vulnerability 195

The Definition of Race 195

Poverty 200

Children and Environmental Health 203

The Elderly and the Built Environment 205

Persons with Disabilities 207

11 Mental Health, Stressors, and Health Care Environments 209

The Beginnings 210

Biophilia 212

The Role of Stressors and Allostatic Load 219

12 Social Capital 227

Theory and Historical Beginnings 228

Measuring Social Capital 231

Improving Social Capital 236

13 Environmental Justice 247

The Environmental Justice Movement 248

A History of the Environmental Justice Movement 249

Disproportionate Burden 256

Additional Limitations of Environmental Justice Actions 262

Lessons 265

Part Five Tools and Applications

14 Assessment Tools and Data Sources 269

Tools to Inform Decision Making 270

Information Tools 275

15 Health Policy and Programs 287

Public Health Interventions 289

Community Interventions 292

School-Based Interventions 293

Individual Level Interventions 296

Legal Basis for Built Environment Regulation 297

Inserting Health into City General Plans 298

16 Sustainability 301

Defining Sustainability 302

Sustainability and Equity 303

Measures of Sustainability 304

The Local Sustainability Movement 307

The Role of Environmental Design in Sustainability 308

Global Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases 316

Glossary 321

References 329

Index 401

“An exceptional book for professionals and students alike. Planning, community health, and design issues are nested in well structured sections. The author does an incredibly good job documenting the sources of both historical and contemporary aspects of such a wide ranging subject matter.—Robert Voigt, in Civic Blogger

“Written in an easy-to-understand style, The Built Environment and Public Health by Russell P. Lopez contains a wealth of information. The data supplied substantiate the author’s concern that public health is definitely affected by the environment that we have built for ourselves… a must-read for all who work in public health.” —Dorothea M. Volzer, MFA, in Florida Journal of Environmental Health