Amid the growing movement to reassert the link between public health and urban planning, Tampa’s aiming to be a model of wellness, and researchers in Switzerland have identified a long-term connection between obesity and urban geography.
No doubt about it, when city-dwellers’ normal routine takes them from a bus seat to a desk chair to the couch, urban design done right can be a friendly reminder to be healthy and active. So some architects sketch plans for spaces that will make you want to take the stairs. And in New York, there are designers who hope to measure exactly how a new Bronx park impacts the health of the community.
Recently, the Penn Institute for Urban Research and the Center for Public Health Initiatives, both at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, invited photographers to capture the ways public spaces promote public health and well-being.
The winning photos, announced Thursday at a “Shaping the Urban Health and Environmental Landscape” symposium at Penn, capture some examples of that vital connection.
Winner: “Summer’s Day at John Kelley Pool”
(Photo by Ben Chrisinger)
Ben Chrisinger’s winning shot, taken in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, captures the recreational and community-building benefits of city pools, a needed respite from shimmering asphalt, and a place to congregate and get active.
Runner-Up: “Spruce Street Harbor Park”
(Photo by Teng Teng)
Teng Teng’s shot of toddlers enjoying a Philadelphia waterfront pop-up park highlights how the best public spaces are designed with a range of people and ages in mind.
Runner-Up: “Schuylkill River Trail”
(Photo by Rob Lybeck)
Rob Lybeck’s shot of a runner on the Schuylkill River Trail — a newish walk and bike trail in Philadelphia — shows that urban trails are a vital public resource for both recreation and commuting.
Kelsey E. Thomas is Next City’s associate editor.