Designing Healthy Communities

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9781118033661: Designing Healthy Communities

Designing Healthy Communities, the companion book to the acclaimed public television documentary, highlights how we design the built environment and its potential for addressing and preventing many of the nation's devastating childhood and adult health concerns. Dr. Richard Jackson looks at the root causes of our malaise and highlights healthy community designs achieved by planners, designers, and community leaders working together. Ultimately, Dr. Jackson encourages all of us to make the kinds of positive changes highlighted in this book. 2012 Nautilus Silver Award Winning Title in category of “Social Change”  

"In this book Dr. Jackson inhabits the frontier between public health and urban planning, offering us hopeful examples of innovative transformation, and ends with a prescription for individual action. This book is a must read for anyone who cares about how we shape the communities and the world that shapes us." —Will Rogers, president and CEO, The Trust for Public Land

"While debates continue over how to design cities to promote public health, this book highlights the profound health challenges that face urban residents and the ways in which certain aspects of the built environment are implicated in their etiology. Jackson then offers up a set of compelling cases showing how local activists are working to fight obesity, limit pollution exposure, reduce auto-dependence, rebuild economies, and promote community and sustainability. Every city planner and urban designer should read these cases and use them to inform their everyday practice."
Jennifer Wolch, dean, College of Environmental Design, William W. Wurster Professor, City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley

"Dr. Jackson has written a thoughtful text that illustrates how and why building healthy communities is the right prescription for America."
Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director, American Public Health Association

Publisher Companion Web site: www.josseybass.com/go/jackson

Additional media and content: http://dhc.mediapolicycenter.org/

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Q&A with the Authors of Designing Healthy Communities

Is there a connection between the built environment of our communities and our health?
Where we live affects how we live. The houses and communities in which we live are very much the product of the safe water, food, transport, education, medical, and public health systems our grandparents created. People of wealth find places to live that are safe, with good air quality and water, affordable transportation, recreation and park amenities, lively culture, and healthful food.

The poor deserve these benefits as well; there is no reason for these fundamental needs to go unmet. Providing these benefits need not be costly, but it does require good design and collaborative planning.

Why the emphasis on communities? Isn't design about commercial and residential viability, access, and traffic flow?

There are many, many facets to community design, but promoting health is rarely one of them. Just as the core tenet of medicine is “First, do no harm,” so should this be the first rule of design. If our food, clothing, workplaces, and cars should all be designed with our health in mind, so should our communities. Thousands of years ago the progenitors of architecture understood this—buildings needed to be strong, useful, and have beauty.

Doing no harm today means constructing buildings that give us security, daylight, clean air, energy efficiency, places to walk, and stairs to climb. And it means designing streets that welcome people, all of us, in safety—not just users of motor vehicles, but walkers and bicyclists, old and young, agile or disabled, wealthy or poor. Design is about life and vitality, happiness and connection—one element is commerce, but commerce is not enough.

All of this seems kind of self-evident: of course people should walk, socialize, and have beautiful environments, but how can we afford the kinds of changes you’re suggesting?
A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and mortality, whereas physical activity prolongs life. So how can we afford not to make these changes? And yet, we fail to build such places. When we focus on short term outcomes, quick returns on investment, we discount the future. When we build for the long term, when we build for well-being, we would build good communities. . . this is a fine investment, and one that pays off. For health we require community and beauty as much as we require rest and food. It is what earlier generations did.

Children need to grow up in safe and loving places with healthful food, physical activity, good education, and increasing socialization and autonomy. They should be afforded environments that require them to grow not just physically, and certainly not to grow fat or unhealthy, but to grow to be independent and intellectually incisive.

Yet for more than the last fifty years, we have increasingly diminished the life range of our children and the security of working families. We legislated, subsidized, and embraced a culture that has encouraged only financial capital and neglected natural, social, cultural, and intellectual capital. Our trajectory is ruinous, but reversible, if we are smart.

Aren't you just arguing for gentrification? What happens to poor people if we make places more desirable for higher income people?
Warehousing and isolating poor people in one place leads to dismal services and cultural failure, as does isolating the wealthy in enclaves. Children need to grow with challenges and amid diversity. We can get comfort from familiar surroundings and friends, but too constant a diet breeds deviance and inflexibility. We all need to learn to get along with each other.

Is there proof that making walkable, bikable, and socially-connected communities makes people healthier and happier?
There’s considerable proof. People in highly walkable neighborhoods record more walking trips per week, especially for errands and going to work, which translates into a higher total amount of physical activity with its associated health benefits.

The same is true for those who use rail transit. We know that people who exercise, walk, or bike in green spaces are less depressed. Drivers in traffic jams frown and have higher blood pressure and heart attack risks. Bicyclists on safe routes seem to smile more and are certainly healthier.

You seem to be arguing for a return to old-fashioned towns that went out with the horse and buggy.
I’m not arguing for a blindly nostalgic return to the past, but I am arguing for vigilance against a way of life that promotes pollution, heart disease, cancer, injury, and social isolation. I am arguing for living in places where we meet our life needs wasting little fossil fuel, for being with our family and friends, being physically vital—walking, running, and playing— and eating local, healthful food, without being owned by our cars and our staggering mortgages and college costs. Yes, that is exactly what I am arguing for. And the market place validates this: our young people have looked at their parents’ stressed car-dependent life styles and are saying, “This is wasteful . . . this is boring . . . I don’t want that.” They are opting for the America their great-grandparents told them was great.

About the Author:

Richard J. Jackson, MD, MPH, is a pediatrician and professor and chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health at University of California, Los Angeles. He is former California State Health Officer and for nine years was the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Environmental Health in Atlanta.

Stacy Sinclair, EdD, is director of education for Media Policy Center in Santa Monica, California, which produced the documentary Designing Healthy Communities. She also is cofounder of EdExcellence Consulting, Inc.

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Richard J. Jackson
Verlag: Jossey Bass Wiley Dez 2011 (2011)
ISBN 10: 1118033663 ISBN 13: 9781118033661
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Buchbeschreibung Jossey Bass Wiley Dez 2011, 2011. Buch. Buchzustand: Neu. Neuware - Designing Healthy Communities, the companion book to the acclaimed public television documentary, highlights how we design the built environment and its potential for addressing and preventing many of the nation's devastating childhood and adult health concerns. Dr. Richard Jackson looks at the root causes of our malaise and highlights healthy community designs achieved by planners, designers, and community leaders working together. Ultimately, Dr. Jackson encourages all of us to make the kinds of positive changes highlighted in this book. 2012 Nautilus Silver Award Winning Title in category of 'Social Change'In this book, Dr. Jackson explores how the built environment has contributed to the fact that two-thirds of Americans are overweight, 70 million are obese and many suffer from an array of other chronic but preventable diseases. The book and series looks upstream at the root causes of our malaise, and highlights actionable best practices based on real people with real solutions. Public health has traditionally associated the built environment with issues such as poor sanitation, lead paint poisoning and children, workplace safety, fire codes and access for persons with disabilities. We now realize that how we design the built environment may hold tremendous potential for addressing---and hopefully preventing---many of the nation's current public health concerns. The Designing Healthy Communities book offers a new perspective on the topics covered in each episode while providing a roadmap and tools for readers to effect similar positive change in their own communities.Dr. Jackson is a vibrant public speaker, highly skilled at distilling ideas to a simple and understandable conversation. Unlike textbooks on the topic, this book seeks to feel more like a conversation between Dr. Jackson and the many people he has met along the road. Through stories and examples, he will encourage readers to consider their own experience and why taking initiative to make positive change in society is important. Part 1 - Living and Leading With Purpose: Introduces the major themes that guide Dick Jackson's life and work. This section sets the stage and provides a context for understanding specific actions. In each thematic area, we move from the specific (ourselves and those close to us) to the broader view. Chapter 1: What Does Caritas Have to Do With the Built Environment Chapter 2: What is Health and How Do We Measure It Chapter 3: Can Built Environment Build Community Part 2 - A Legacy in Concrete: Each chapter details a place where Dick Jackson's ideas have been manifested. Each chapter reviews the community in the style of a medical case study: symptoms, diagnosis, cure, and prevention. This is the nuts-and-bolts of Dr. Jackson's view of public health is manifested in specific locations. Chapter 4: From Monoculture to Human Culture - curing social and environmental malnutrition: Belmar, Colorado Chapter 5: Using the Principles of New Urbanism to Build Community Prairie Crossing, Illinois Chapter 6: Saving America's downtown and local history through the political process: Charleston, South Carolina Chapter 7: Reinventing a City through Community Leadership for Sustainability: a vital part of sustainability is being healthy: Elgin, Illinois Chapter 8: Ending Car Captivity - Leadership Paths to Culture: Boulder, Colorado Chapter 9: Ports Are Rest Stops Along the Global Highway: Oakland, California Chapter 10: The city that won't give up - entrepreneurship and urban agriculture: Detroit, Michigan Part 3 - Be The Change You Want to See in the World: This section makes the case that the reader can use Dick Jackson's vision and tools to effect similar improvements in their own communities. Chapters examine how to effect change through the power of one person leading groups with purpose and working effectively to engage others. We introduce the different stakeholders in a community (government agencies, NGOs, parents, children 288 pp. Artikel-Nr. 9781118033661

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