Can the Design of Affordable Housing Promote Exercise?

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Case study
Oct 31, 2018
How Housing Matters, Preventative Medicine Reports
To encourage architects and planners to design built environments that promote physical activity, New York City offers an “active design” building incentive within the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults ages 18 to 65 engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (MPA) or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity (VPA) per week to reduce risk of disease and promote a healthy lifestyle, but in 2011, only 20 percent of Americans met these goals. Active design interventions provide an easy way for residents to increase their activity and meet these goals. This study analyzed the impact of the new design incentive on the activity levels of affordable housing residents at the Arbor House, a 124-unit development in the South Bronx that received the LEED credit.