Category Archives: health & well being

Urban Transportation Change Maker

Re-posted from The Dirt

Rina Cutler: Urban Transportation Change Maker

When I retire I will write a book called, ‘you can’t make this sh*t up,” said Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and utilities, Philadelphia, at a National Complete Streets Coalition dinner in Washington, D.C. In a review of her experience serving seven mayors and governors, Cutler revealed the sometimes painful truths about pushing for positive change in urban transportation.

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Play

Play, Recreation and Children

While sustainable settlements debates more often than not focus on such key issues as climate change, carbon, energy, green infrastructure, weather etc, emphasis must also remain on the rights of children to have access to play.

It is overdue that planning and development legislation to be inclusive of the ‘need to create time and space for children to engage in spontaneous play, recreation and creativity, and to promote societal attitudes that support and encourage such activity’ (1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child article 31).

The problem has been that play has been a separated issue for planning. At worst it is a token of optional matter to be addressed. The contemporary view is that whether the planning is for a street, a park, a suburb or any form of redevelopment of urban areas, play and the rights for children to have access to safe and engaging recreation must be as important as the rest of the requirements. This is rarely the case.

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Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health

Reporting on research being undertaken

Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health

You are urged to ‘watch this space’ for research and reports by scientists who have been carrying out research on Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health. To quote from their website:

Safeguarding future health in Australian cities, The CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship has funded scientists and researchers from a range of disciplines to develop adaptation strategies which will improve the health of urban populations in the face of a variable and changing climate.

The Urbanism, Climate Adaptation and Health Cluster was established in 2010 and officially launched in March 2011 at a Conference in Cairns, bringing together nine different partner organisations focusing on 7 major research projects.

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Urban Trees and Heat

Opinion Editorial: Urban Trees and Heat

A case study of neglect and willful blindness?.

(cross posted from our other blog)

Ainslie-P1010108

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Sugar

re-post from David Gillespie’s site
The World Health Organisation has taken a tough stand on sugar.
It’s about time we listened.

The WHO (World Health Organization) has leaked a draft report about sugar. The report will tell the world’s health authorities that they should be severely limiting the amount of sugar we all eat.

It will recommend that we consume no more than 5 teaspoons of sugar a day. Given the average Australian is putting away somewhere closer to 35-45 teaspoons a day, it’s a very big call indeed.

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Green Spaces and the Health Budgets

Green Spaces and the Health Budgets

re-posted from the BBC

In Australia planning authorities and government administrative services sections still do not address the proven links between health and the access to open spaces. One has to only look to the small budgets for parks initiatives and worse still to the shrinking allocations for park maintenance within local governments.

Meanwhile all our governments are under stress because of the increasing requirements being identified under their health portfolios.

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Health Wellbeing and Parks

re-posted from BBC, science and environment

It’s about the links between Health Wellbeing and Parks

Green spaces, Parks, have lasting positive effect on health and wellbeing

Living in an urban area with green spaces such as parks has a long-lasting positive impact on people’s mental well-being, a study has suggested. UK researchers found moving to a green space had a sustained positive effect, unlike pay rises or promotions, which only provided a short-term boost.

The authors said the results indicated that access to good quality urban parks was beneficial to public health. The findings appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

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Heat and Australia

What’s cranking up the heat across south-eastern Australia?

re-posted from The Conversation, Tess Parker, 13 January 2013

In the midst of a January heatwave in South East Australia, with temperature outside being around 40 degrees Celsius for several days, it is refreshing to see the science being discussed as to what happens and why. As usual there will be the trolls who try to distract the facts being put forward. I for one thank the researchers who continue to seek evidence based answers to the many queries around weather and the links to climate change. Here’s the link to the piece by Tess Parker, on The Conversation

Education in ecology and biodiversity

The Nature of Cities

Education in ecology and biodiversity

If cities look to stay within their boarders, there is the need to seek acceptable ways to intensify the number of residents within the older suburbs. This requires an intelligent engagement with the present residents of suburban areas on a case by case basis.

Given the need to address climate change within the suburbs as they are being redeveloped and upgraded throws up a host of requirements that should have by now have been built into legislation. Sadly this is not so as most of the re-development and intensification as been left to laissez-faire market forces.

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Cities and urban wildlife

re-post from the Guardian

Cities and Urban Wildlife

Take any city and ask, has the government in place a long-term strategy to enhance the biodiversity through maintaining and increasing its green infrastructure? This requires not just consideration of the public realm but also ways to encourage citizens that this needs to happen in the backyard of every home.

In the past governments have often established arboretums to undertake research on trees and shrubs. It is now far more realistic to continue the aims of arboretums not by having these specialist sites, instead the approach needs to be to increase the range of trees and shrubs within the urban areas themselves.

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Cities and Women

Re-Post from the Guardian

Making cities safe for women and girls

It’s about Cities and Women:  World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty is focusing on how to tackle violence against women and girls in public spaces Whether walking city streets, using public transport, going to school, or selling goods at the market, women and girls are subject to the threat of sexual harassment and violence. This reality of daily life limits women’s freedom to get an education, to work, to participate in politics – or to simply enjoy their own neighbourhoods. Yet despite its prevalence, violence and harassment against women and girls in public spaces remains a largely neglected issue, with few laws or policies in place to address it.  click here for the full article

Public Health

Re-Posted from UK Landscape Institute

Public health and landscape: creating healthy places (November 2013)

The UK Landscape Institute believes that greater priority needs to be given to prevention of ill health in public health and social care. All those involved in creating healthy places, public health professionals, planners and landscape architects, need to recognise that landscape has enormous potential to improve our health and wellbeing. In Australia, despite all the evidence being available, it has been a struggle to have the Australian Government recognise the importance of the links between our public spaces and the population’s health and well being.

 Click here for UK Landscape Institute Public Health Policy links