Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Vigor in the ville: Creating cities that promote health and well-being

By Peter Mares

Urban public health expert Billie Giles-Corti discusses how a rigorous, evidence-based approach to urban policy and city planning can help bring long-term benefits for physical and mental health and well-being.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

I'm Peter Mares thanks for joining us. On this program we ask the question: can cities make us sick? More specifically, does our urban environment contribute to the chronic illnesses of the 21st century, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease? If so, could we improve public health with better planning and design? For example if a neighbourhood offers pleasant conditions for pedestrians like wide, shady footpaths or sidewalks, and if it has plenty of interesting or useful places close by like parks or shops, does this mean residents walk more and have better physical health? Could it improve mental health, too, because it results in more chance conversations in the street, helping people to build a sense of community and reduce loneliness?

These are some of the many questions at the heart of the work of leading researcher Billie Giles-Corti, who spent almost 20 years examining the effect of built environments on public health. Professor Giles-Corti takes a rigorous empirical approach to her work seeking an evidence-base for urban policy that brings long term benefits for wellbeing. Billie Giles-Corti is Director of the McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing in the...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.