Creating active urban environments: insights from expert interviews

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Abstract

Urban planning and design offer opportunities to nudge people towards more active behavior. This is a popular topic among urbanists and health professionals, with several guidelines and best practices already developed. However, a gap exists between theory and practice and the complex realization process of such active environments is rarely documented. In this study, we investigated the process of designing, implementing, and evaluating active urban environments through semi-structured interviews with 11 European practitioner experts in the field of active environment design and development. We additionally analyzed 51 examples of active environments they provided. We discuss definitions of active environments and their added value to encourage active behavior and provide an overview of the spectrum of design strategies, elements and boundaries used to create them. We also describe typical steps in the design and realization process, including types of stakeholders, main gaps, and points of friction in this practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-479
Number of pages17
JournalCities & Health
Volume7
Issue number3
Early online date24 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank all participants for their contributions. This research is part of the Vitality Living Lab project, financed by Operational Program South Netherlands ERDF 2014–2020.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Active environments
  • design- and realization process
  • physical activity
  • urban design

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