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The American Dream, Expanding Waistlines, and Planning Policy

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,150
Points
27
I find recent headlines that center on a supposed realtionship between Americans getting fatter and sprawl to be confusing and scientifically misleading. From the Michigan Land Use Institute, at http://www.mlui.org/growthmanagement/fullarticle.asp?fileid=16523, an article called Girth and Growth we can read that,

"Super-sized American waistlines, say a growing number of public health officials, appear to be caused, at least in part, by superhighways and cars, massive parking lots with no sidewalks in sight, and all the other artifacts of America’s sprawl-dominant, vehicle-dependent lifestyle. We live in a civilization that is more comfortable encouraging vehicles, not people, to move."

While anecdotally I cannot disagree with assertions that try to illustrate a possible linkage between overweight Americans and sprawl, the skeptic in me aks, "Where's the evidence? Where's the clinical trials or field studies? Where's the statistical correlation? What was n? The confidence interval? T-Test, ANOVA, or Chi-Square?" All that scare-mongering about living in lifeless suburbs without any sidewalks just doesn't jive: If our lifestyle depends on the car, then maybe we drive to the gym or to the high school running track. However, maybe I just don't get it. Can any of my fellow planners show me the statistical correlation between fatter Americans and sprawl? I want to believe the hype, but until I read a credible study or two, I cannot hop on the "Sprawl = Fat Americans" bandwagon.
 

jordanb

Cyburbian
Messages
3,232
Points
25
According to news reports, studies have been done that have shown correlations. I've not looked at the technical reports from any of those studies so I don't know how good they are.
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
I agree that its not that simple. Its one of several factors. I grew up in an urban neighborhood (1 - 3 families per small lot, 3 blocks from major urban corridor) and I don't picture a less active childhood if the neighborhood was more suburban. I still would have played football in the street and I would have had a bigger back yard to play in. Some walking and bike trips might have been eliminated but I don't think it would be much different.

I hope the smart growth movement doesn't hang their hat to heavliy on this argument. We eat so much processed crap everyday that we'll all probably regret years from now. We eat bigger portions than we used to. Many parents feed their kids crap and let them play video games all day. Less people have blue collar physical jobs.

Suburbs have been around for decades has anyone researched this link among suburban kids in the 50's through 90's?
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,407
Points
32
BUNK!

If a person does not want to walk, he/she won't. Doesn't matter if it is in sprawlville or a dense urban setting. If someone wants to exercise they will doesn't matter where they live. Jobs are getting less and less physical with new technology, and people have less free time to recreate. Americans have an appetite for fat filled crap to boot. All of this adds up to fat people.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I share your suspicions of lacking or flawed empirical evidence. Yes, we may be using our cars to perform chores, but that does not necessarily correlate to obesity. How about the fact that a far greater number of us are working in sedentary jobs (and working longer hours) than in the past? And what about people who substitute regular exercise routines for "walking to the store," which the New Urbanists seem to think is some kind of nirvana? And what about our diets? No, call me skeptical. Every ill of our society cannot be blamed on urban form.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
19,467
Points
44
In one hand I agree with some of what is said. We are too reliant on cars. But when was the last time that you saw a Doctor walk to work? Or a new hospital being built that is pedestrian friendly.

I know that a lot of Catholic hospitals are now creating large campus hospitals out in the country. That just adds to urban sprawl.

BUT...

The problem is bigger than sprawl. We are just a fat country.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,150
Points
27
Michael Stumpf said:
How about the fact that a far greater number of us are working in sedentary jobs (and working longer hours) than in the past?
Exactly. Which job is better: Working your ass off in the coal mine or working in the office at a computer all day? Although neither job brings waves of orgasmic joy to the average person, I would bet most would take the Dilbert Principle over Black Lung Disease any day.
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,150
Points
27
michaelskis said:
We are just a fat country.
...and the reasons we are fat may be somewhat related to the urban form, but probably has more to do with our lifestyle. Among industrialized nations, the United States works the most, with an average of about fourteen vacation days a year. Compare that to many European nations that grant their employees about four weeks of vacation a year. Americans work hard, and when we get home, regardless if it is in a sprawling subdivision or in an old city neighborhood, we just want to chill out and enjoy any speck of free time that is available.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
giff57 said:
BUNK!

If a person does not want to walk, he/she won't. Doesn't matter if it is in sprawlville or a dense urban setting. If someone wants to exercise they will doesn't matter where they live.
It is not that simple. We are not divided into people who walk and people who don't walk. We all walk, some more than others, and the amount of walking we do is not static. If someone wants to exercise by walking, the design of the environment DOES affect where they will walk. And if there are few provisions for pedestrians in their neighbourhood, this may act as a deterrent.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
Alan said:
...and the reasons we are fat may be somewhat related to the urban form, but probably has more to do with our lifestyle.
I agree that lifestyle plays a big part.

Re your request for evidence about the role of urban form, there was a study of 17,000 adults published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that found that people who live in houses 27 years old or more were considerably more likely to walk a mile or more at least 20 times a month, because "neighbourhoods containing older homes in urban areas are more likely to have sidewalks, have denser interconnected networks of streets and often display a mix of business and residential uses".

But the article acknowledges that the unsolved question is whether people walk more because their neighbourhood is walkable, or whether people move to neighbourhoods where it is pleasant to walk.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
Alan said:
and when we get home,
and how do you get home? by car? because walking is not an easy or attractive option?

we just want to chill out and enjoy any speck of free time that is available.
walking is not enjoyable?
 

Wannaplan?

Galactic Superstar
Messages
3,150
Points
27
JNL said:
and how do you get home? by car? because walking is not an easy or attractive option?

walking is not enjoyable?
Those are some very good points. I really can't argue with them.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,407
Points
32
JNL said:
It is not that simple. We are not divided into people who walk and people who don't walk. We all walk, some more than others, and the amount of walking we do is not static. If someone wants to exercise by walking, the design of the environment DOES affect where they will walk. And if there are few provisions for pedestrians in their neighbourhood, this may act as a deterrent.
I don't agree. If someone wants to exercise by walking, and the design of the environment is a deterrent, they will find a place to do it.

I still think design has nothing at all to do with people being overweight.
 

JNL

Cyburbian
Messages
2,449
Points
25
giff57 said:
I don't agree. If someone wants to exercise by walking, and the design of the environment is a deterrent, they will find a place to do it.

I still think design has nothing at all to do with people being overweight.
You have agreed that the design ot the environment can be a deterrent and that people may have to look for somewhere suitable for walking. I would argue that if people have to go out of their way to find somewhere to walk, then they are less likely to do so. Or at least less often.

Have you read Jan Gehl's 'Life Between Buildings' (4th ed, 2001), which makes a compelling case for a relationship between the quality of the physical environment and the rate of occurrence of outdoor activities.
 

Runner

Cyburbian
Messages
566
Points
17
I'll agree that it would be nice to have an indisputable study that shows the direct correlation between sprawl and obesity that passes all the required statistical tests.

Unfortunately, I think there are so many factors involved it would be tough to isolate one cause. Also, as soon as one study says there is a correlation another will come out and say there is not one.

I think common sense needs to rule here. If we keep waiting on positive proof we will all be dead before it arrives.

Sprawl = obesity
Global warming is real
San Antonio's aquifer is not bottomless

All disputed, but I have chosen to believe in the accuracy of these statements.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
It's difficult to prove causailty, but I agree with Runner. Common sense says that a neighborhood with a "main street" three blocks way will encourage more walking than one where there are no sidewalks and you have to drive five miles to find a place to walk safely (many southeastern suburbs).

It is complicated., Our culture celebrates excess. "Supersize your value meal." "All you can eat buffet" etc. etc.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
BKM our culture also celebrates success, don't forget that.

This hyperbole over waist lines is noise, plain and simple. Should we eat better, yes, should we get more exercise yes, does it have anything to do with some ones definition of sprawl? No, it is just wishful thinking on the part of some.

Take some responsibility for ourselves. Stop eating the double cheesburger and eat a salad. Turn off Madden 2003 and kick the soccer ball around.

and also double check how these special interest groups are "calculating" being overweight. I believe at 5 6 and 155 lbs, I am in the "overweight" catagory.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
I wasn't dismissing American culture entirely. Just commenting on one aspect of it. And, I don't understand what "success" is being celebrated by an all-you-can-eat buffet.

You are right about the ever tightening definition of "overweight." But, medical science is evolving. Some doctors really thought in the 1940s that cigarettes were not a big problem.

As for taking responsiblity for yourself-sure. But, as planners, shouldn't we be encouraging communities that facilitate a more active lifestyle? That's all I am saying-I'm not a pure physical determinist. But, it requires willfull denial to state that communities built around cul desacs and arterial roads do not contribute, to a varying degree, to lowered physical activity in daily life.

(I weigh a lot more than 155, but genetics plus a horrible sweet tooth/bad diet account for that-purely my fault)!
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
5,407
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32
Is there anything that we will not try to blame on sprawl or Walmart or both?

Just wondering
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
The factors are many, as said, but our built environment surely encourages us to drive places and overall laziness.
 

green lizard

Member
Messages
133
Points
6
giff57 said:
Is there anything that we will not try to blame on sprawl or Walmart or both?

Hey,
I was going to Walmart in my SUV the other day to buy
some child-slave labor made clothing and on the way I realized
that I do not walk eoungh. So, I parked in the back of the lot and
walked all the way to the store where I put my used soda can
in the recycle bin and droped a dallor in the UNICF fund box
at the door.

A day in the life of a true american, no guilt, little pain,
but very issue aware.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
green lizard said:
Hey,
I was going to Walmart in my SUV the other day to buy
some child-slave labor made clothing and on the way I realized
that I do not walk eoungh. So, I parked in the back of the lot and
walked all the way to the store where I put my used soda can
in the recycle bin and droped a dallor in the UNICF fund box
at the door.

A day in the life of a true american, no guilt, little pain,
but very issue aware.
ROTFLMAO:)
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
BKM

you and i are on the same page. yes we should be definitely advocating in some manner the opportunity for more active communities.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
This is the problem with "science" sometimes. It trumps common sense. It's like people telling me that it's perfectly safe to spray pesticides related to nerve agents on my food before i eat it - just make sure i rinse them. Yeah, and while i'm at it i'll duck and cover too.

going from my neighborhood, to my parents neighborhood(in NJ), to my brothers neighborhood (in SC) is evidence enough to me that form has everything to do with how active people are.

Whenever my parents or relatives come to visit and we walk away from my front door to go out to dinner they invariably say "ohh i guess we're walking?" I tell them "yeah, it's only a few blocks" and they wind up counting every little driveway and alley as a block and generally whine about how far of a walk it is. When i offer the subway as an alternative they then comment on how many steps there are to climb. This, of course, is all in good nature and while some of them could stand to lose a few no one in my family is really overweight, much less obese. We may have been blessed with quick metabolisms but the fact of the matter is they just don't walk - anywhere and few of them get any regular exercise (save my grandparents who recently moved to Florida to a community specifically DESIGNED with exercise in mind) . Sure my parents ride their bikes a lot but they normally drive somewhere to do it and my mother in particular is always complaining about the (lack of)safety of riding a bike near her house.

When i visit my brother i'm appaled at the landscape. People don't even get out of their cars to pick up their dry-cleaning. ATM's are always drive up - Even pizza places have take-out windows. Sidewalks don't exist.

Somebody raise the point earlier that when people get home they want to use what little spare time they have to relax. More often than not that "relaxing" is done in front of the TV.

The point everyone is missing is that running on hamster wheels (in a gym) or driving 10 miles to enjoy a 5 mile bike ride might not be for everyone. In certain environments - be they small town or big city - you have the opportunity to incorporate some exercise into your daily routine. Walking or riding to the post office, the bowling alley, to pick up a movie, see friends - even walking to pick up food are all options. We are all aware of places, and some of us live in them, where no transactions are possible on foot (not unless you have a few hours to spare).
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
Points
29
gkmo62u said:

and also double check how these special interest groups are "calculating" being overweight. I believe at 5 6 and 155 lbs, I am in the "overweight" catagory.
I have to agree: 'overweight' is not a simple matter of numbers. My husband is in the military and works out regularly. So do pretty much all military personnel. It is a requirement of the job. If you don't pass 'weight', they do a tape test to determine body fat. If you fail both, you are put on 'remedial pt' to get you back in shape. If you don't get back in shape within a certain period of time, it can end your career. So there are no obese folks in the military.

However, when he was on recruiting duty, every year, they did annual assessments. Some civilian insurance guy with his civilian charts of weight and height told every last one of them that they 'needed to lose a few pounds' -- in spite of the fact that every last one of them weighed 'more' due to muscle mass, NOT fat.

So I would want to know what standards they are using to define 'overweight'.
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
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7,657
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29
When I lived in Germany, for much of the time that I lived there I was on the third floor of a building with no elevator. I lived 'catty-corner' across the street from the commissary, where the parking lot (like all parking lots in Germany) was not designed to accommodate our American-made full-size truck. It was more of a hassle to drive 50 feet or so to the commissary and buy a week's worth of groceries and then run up and down the stairs a zillion times than it was to walk 4 to 6 times per week and get 2 bags of groceries at a time.

When I say 'walk', I mean with an infant strapped to my chest (who was 9 1/2 pounds at birth and nearly 27 pounds by the time he was a year old -- and did not take his first steps until he was past 13 months), a backpack for the groceries and a toddler by the hand. The toddler was typically too tired to walk home, so he ended up on my shoulders, above the backpack full of heavy groceries. The light stuff -- like diapers or toilet paper -- was in a bag in my left hand. I was probably carrying between 60 and 80 pounds on the way home. The military men, who regularly did road marches with 60 pound rucksacks, had enormous respect for me.

I never gained an ounce during that time.

Then they decided to 'improve' the commissary. We had a temporary commissary located someplace where I couldn't walk to it, I had to take the car. And because you could still buy 20 brands of cigarettes but lentil beans were nowhere to be found, a friend and I put a cooler in the trunk of a car (hers or mine) and drove to the commissary in Nuremburg once a week until they re-opened our commissary.

I gained 15 pounds that summer, in something like 6 or 8 weeks.

And don't tell me I could have chosen to go to the gym. With two small kids -- one of whom has health problems and is faceblind (something we only recently learned), so it was really hard to arrange any kind of daycare -- and a husband who was gone a lot, no, I couldn't really go to the gym.

I also have respiratory problems. I worked out regularly when we lived in Washington state and when we lived in the Mojave desert, because there were walking paths and I could breathe outside without grabbing for an inhaler. My oldest son, who has respiratory problems, hardly leaves the apartment where we live now because it always makes him sick for many days to go outside to play.

For someone who has little control over their lives, due to the demands of special needs kids or whatever, or someone with personal 'handicaps' that make it 'iffy', the built environment and quality of air, etc, makes a huge difference in their ability to get sufficient physical activity. I did gymnastics in my youth, I can still do the splits at age 38 -- in spite of all that nearly dying and being bedridden for nearly 4 months -- and I impress hell out of a lot of people with my physical strength and stamina, since I am a 'girly girl' and everyone knows about my health problems, so no one expects me to have any strength or stamina. But my ability to stick to some kind of fitness routine is really sporadic and highly dependent upon where I live.

I returned to the states after our stint in Germany. I have never again lived any place that allowed for walking to that degree. I miss it. Terribly. I am too busty to run or jog, and my knees and ankles bother me for stuff like that, I get cold and sick if I swim, bicycling also puts too much stress on my respiratory system, etc. Walking and stretching and weightlifting are the only things that have consistently worked for me over the years.

And you get a different culture when you have a walking environment. You meet your neighbors. People are friendlier. Here in the U.S., you drive into your garage and get out of the car and go in the house without ever having to even see a neighbor, cuz they are doing the same thing. But I knew everybody in my neighborhood in Germany.
 
Last edited:

simulcra

Member
Messages
127
Points
6
I personally see a correlation between design and willingness to walk in an environment.

my dad uses the argument that, if a person wants to walk, he will.

well, not in my city you won't. the only open spaces that are really noticeable are large unkempt lots that have yet to be developped (which they will in a month or so, probably), and the few parks there are are worthless and miniscule. sidewalks are basically wastelands; most neighborhoods are incased in a pseudo-gated community so on one side you have a wall on the other the street. and the brilliant designers loved to make these sidewalks curve and they even added nice hills. how clever of them. too bad it's texas and they didn't think of adding a single ounce of shade. i think there's only one significantly shaded street in this suburb of 200,000+, and it's only for a few blocks even at that. there has been a trend of more people walking to places they need to get to in the past few years (by that i mean, while driving around at 55 mph, you see one person every ten minutes instead of every twenty), but again, some of these neighborhoods are so labyrinthine in design that unless you want to walk around just for the heck of it, you're not getting anywhere. there's a really great pizza place literally 500 ft away from my house, but i can't walk there because the nearby intersection is so ghastly terrible for pedestrians that i can't walk there. plus it doesn't help that significant intersections only come by once every 1.3 miles or so (i checked it with my car), so you're technically going to be jaywalking unless you live really close to an intersection.

by contrast, i spent quite a bit of time in my younger years with a friend who lived in another suburb, but it was much more convenient to get around. i was probably 8 the first time i went over there and the concept of "walking somewhere" completely blew my mind away. but the neighborhoods weren't built in the incredibly annoying pseudo-gated method or with feeder roads, intersections were more frequent, and at a wonderfully young age i began to see what could be possible in a city, even a suburb at that. i remember the hot dog i had and dropping by the local fire station to get to see the guys in action, all during the summer. but times i was back home (a different suburb than the one i'm in now) were incredibly frustrating because it was just a damned health hazard to walk anywhere other than to school.

and there's probably no doubt that there's a correlation between weight and walkable environment. hell, just having proper posture burns an extra 100-200 or so calories per day. and that means guilt-free salt and vinegar chips.
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
I must say that sadly, my country is going your way, kids obsesed (obese) with Crap Donald's, barely doing any exercise, parents drive or hire someone to drive them to school, and gated comunities with cul-de-sacs and suburban characteristics are appearing in many cities ,mainly Santiago, but a semi-suburban gated comunity is being built here in Valdivia (it's a fair drive from Valdivia, and you practicaly don't have good public transit there) at least it has sidewalks (but with the huge amount of rain that falls here... it's very usefull)

PS: I don't and can't blame you for the fact that we're going the same road you are... We too are also starting to get pumped with fear through the media, just like you in the United States of Fear (I mean America ;)). A good thing here is that legal gun ownership and ammo is heavily controlled and controlled by the army.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
Points
25




From todays Greenville News, commenting on an article from yesterday that cited Pickens County (home to Clemson University) as having both the worst suburban sprawl and the highest rate obesity in South Carolina. Go figure...
 
Messages
5,353
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31
biscuit said:




From todays Greenville News, commenting on an article from yesterday that cited Pickens County (home to Clemson University) as having both the worst suburban sprawl and the highest rate obesity in South Carolina. Go figure...
That is classic!!!
 

SkeLeton

Cyburbian
Messages
4,853
Points
26
Rumpy Tuna said:
-Is that a good thing?
Well at least it's hard to legally have a Mac 10 submachinegun, or blind people with legal firearms and with shooting licences...

9mm guns aren't that hard to have legally, but it's harder thanin the US at least, and forget about trying to shop for ammo in any big box or supermarket.
 

Lee Nellis

Cyburbian
Messages
1,371
Points
29
Having spent all summer in the backcountry, I can tell you that the very first thing we noticed when we got out to the trailhead, was that people are FAT. Since then we have noticed that it is almost impossible to get a reasonable portion when eating out (and something like 50% of all meals are eaten out these days) and that reading the labels of most foodstuffs offered at Safeway is both fightening and depressing. SO, I agree with everyone's conclusion that this is a complex issue. BUT must say that those who think land use patterns have nothing to do with it are living in a dream world (and we don't need statisitics to see it). When I was a kid I walked or biked everywhere. It was safe to do so, and the activities I participated in were all pretty much within an easy walk or ride. I now watch my niece, who lives in one of the safest imaginable suburbs, being chauffered everywhere, due in part to the way her slate of activities are spread across the entire region and in part to perceptions of safety. And guess what: she's awfully chunky for 9!
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
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25
SkeLeton said:
9mm guns aren't that hard to have legally, but it's harder thanin the US at least, and forget about trying to shop for ammo in any big box or supermarket.
-But what if you need ammo or a gun in the event of a massive Zombie attack? I know I'm ready for the dawn of the dead.

-But on the topic of sprawl, article from todays Buffalo News-

Upstate sprawl grew as cities lost residents from 1982-97, study shows
By MICHAEL HILL
Associated Press
10/19/2003

ALBANY - As upstate New York cities reeled from a mass exodus of residents from 1982 to 1997, development sprawled across 425,000 acres of outlying areas, according to a study released Sunday.
The Brookings Institution said higher city property tax rates, a lack of centralized land use policy and national demographic trends all contributed to a lopsided settlement pattern for upstate New York, with cities shedding people while many other areas gained.

"The development on the fringe is definitely helping drain the cities," said Rolf Pendall, a Cornell University professor who wrote the study for the Washington think tank.

Brookings reported that 425,000 acres of farms, forests and other land in upstate New York - an area roughly twice the size of New York City - was converted over to development between 1982 and 1997. That includes a wide variety of building, such as residential, industrial and commercial. The 30 percent growth occurred even as upstate's population grew by a modest 2.6 percent, meaning people were becoming more thinly spread out across the region.

Critics claim that sort of sprawl threatens farmland and wildlife while raising the cost of providing government services. Pendall, an associate professor of city and regional planning, found sprawl taking a toll on upstate cities.

Upstate cities lost more than 140,000 people in the '90s, with the area's largest cities - Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany - dropping by 8.4 percent cumulatively. The region's more than 400 villages also posted an overall population loss, according to the report.

By contrast, towns outside of village boundaries gained more than 230,000 people during the '90s.

The same phenomenon was seen on the commercial side. Cities lost businesses between 1994 and 1999 while other areas gained, according to the study.

Vacant housing was up in upstate cities, where more than half the housing was built before 1940. Tax bases shrunk, with the assessed value of upstate cities dropping 7.1 percent in the '90s.

Maybe most significantly, property tax rates were higher in upstate cities. Homeowners in cities paid $22.15 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed value versus $20.79 in villages and $17.47 for towns outside villages, according to Census 2000 figures analyzed by Pendall.

While lower taxes and newer homes in outlying areas can be attractive, Pendall said lower population density comes with a downside: It takes more time to drive from place to place.

"If you have more vehicle miles traveled, you have more air pollution," he said. "You have less time, often, to be doing other things. So there are impacts socially, economically and environmentally."

Upstate mayors have been well aware of trends addressed in the Brookings report and have lobbied for "anti-sprawl" programs in the past. "There has to be a commitment other than just a Band-Aid approach - not only to help the cities survive, but to become vibrant," said Edward Farrell, executive director of the New York Conference of Mayors.

The Pataki administration has addressed so-called smart growth and sprawl issues through a task force designed to encourage cooperation among different levels of government.

Pendall said upstate New York's situation was not helped by a fragmented municipal government structure that includes 1,366 local governments, 511 school districts, 862 other special districts and 52 counties.

Beefed up local land use planning that takes city, suburban and rural interests into account would help, Pendall said, as would state policies to ease the property tax burden on city taxpayers. He also recommended removing obstacles that make it difficult for cities and villages to expand through annexation of land.

The Brookings study relied on data from the census, federal land cover surveys and the state comptroller's office.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
Solipsa said:
I personally see a correlation between design and willingness to walk in an environment.

my dad uses the argument that, if a person wants to walk, he will.
One of my favorite books from many years ago talked about class in America. It noted that the upper classes tended to be slim and the lower classes tended to be rounder.

It's my opinion that the rich and beautiful choose their appearance to be different from the general masses. When people worked hard on the farm and were thin and tan, the rich were round and pale. Now that the common folk are in sedentary jobs and have become round, the rich and beautiful are typically thin. It shows they have the leisure time to work out as opposed to the masses who have no leisure time after working, shuffling kids around, and shopping.

One interesting conclusion is that creative people are able to migrate between classes (creative class?).
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,464
Points
29
I read an interesting article the other day that noted a link between U.S. FARM POLICY (not sprawl) is largely to blame. Namely, that huge subsidies for corn production have lead to extremely cheap corn syrup and other fillers, enabling (requiring) fast food and processed food to offer gigantic portion sizes as a major competitive strategy-because the corn-based raw materials are so cheap.

An interesting concept.
 

otterpop

Cyburbian
Messages
6,655
Points
28
giff57 said:
Is there anything that we will not try to blame on sprawl or Walmart or both?

Just wondering
The inexplicable success of the careers of Adam Sandler and Jamie Kennedy. Oh, I've tried and tried to find a sprawl-Walmart connection, but alas, even these societal pariahs cannot be used to explain the unexplainable.
 

biscuit

Cyburbian
Messages
3,904
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25
BKM said:
I read an interesting article the other day that noted a link between U.S. FARM POLICY (not sprawl) is largely to blame. Namely, that huge subsidies for corn production have lead to extremely cheap corn syrup and other fillers, enabling (requiring) fast food and processed food to offer gigantic portion sizes as a major competitive strategy-because the corn-based raw materials are so cheap.

An interesting concept.
"Interesting indeed," I think to myself as I shove a value sized Chick-fil-A sandwich meal down my mouth.
 

H

Cyburbian
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2,850
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24
biscuit said:
"Interesting indeed," I think to myself as I shove a value sized Chick-fil-A sandwich meal down my mouth.
mmmmmmm Chic-fil-A……… some of ATL’s finest :)
 

Michele Zone

BANNED
Messages
7,657
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29
Grant for research related to this topic

I didn't know which forum to put this in, so I searched for the thread about obesity and sprawl. Then I thought "Why not just add it to the thread rather than start a new thread??" I mean, everyone knows what a track record I have for thread-starters that do a lovely nosedive into Nowheresville. |-) Besides, it is nearly 3 am and I am nearly incoherent. Can you tell? :-}

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Seeks Proposals for Active Living Research Program
Excerpt:
the program is seeking case studies of community efforts to change environments or policies that are relevant for active living. Proposals must address either: 1) the policy change process, or 2) policy innovations.
Request For Proposal
Application deadline is December 1st, 2004.
 

roger

Cyburbian
Messages
118
Points
6
I don't really buy the "sprawl = fat" argument either. There may be a correlation, but I think it's a lot more complicated than that. Basically it amounts to a lifestyle choice; if people really want to be active, they'll find a way to do it, sprawl or not. There are other factors at work here, such as our love of processed food and going out to eat. (According to Runner's World, the average restaurant meal contains 1000 calories, excluding drinks and dessert.) If someone walks to the store every other day but still eats crap food and never gets any exercise, chances are he'll still be obese.
 

zman

Cyburbian
Messages
9,220
Points
31
I'm blaming it on video games. Growing up I played football and basketball outside. Kids these days are too fat b/c they stay inside and are babysat by Playstations.

I agree some urban design promotes driving, but the real issue with contemporary design is its blandness and uniformity.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
29
How about...

How about a corollary between pollution, increased traffic, violent crime rates, asbestos prevelance, lead in water and other dangers that could be perceived as higher risks in urban areas with great access to sidewalks, trails and bicycle lanes as compared to us fat slobs ;-) in the burbs?? Now on the other hand, what about the stress from the added commutes, added cost of owning multiple vehicles, and less free time at home....who knows for sure.....could go either way unless someone does specific studies to help show us all..... :-\

I'm just saying we should look at the big picture for health issues ;-) , not just whether we are more likely to walk in an urban area....I know I would be....but if I'm living/working in a lead/asbestos riden older home....does that really matter? Or breathing bus fumes while I walk.....? :-\
 
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