In the past decade there has been growing recognition that the urban environment influences health.
The design of neighbourhoods is associated with levels of walking, cycling and use of public transport, together with sense of community, positive mental health, depression and asthma.
Transport planning, housing and public open space design are also associated with health and wellbeing at the individual and community level.
Low density and automobile dependent suburbs discourage the use of non-motorised forms of transport and public transport use reducing physical activity.
There is growing concern about the sustainability of low density suburbs and the impact on the environment of high levels of driving and ever-expanding suburban boundaries.
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How to optimise urban environment from a health perspective and to meet the needs of different population groups (such as children, young people and older adults) has been largely unexplored.
The Centre for the Built Environment and Health will strengthen more than a decade of research at UWA examining the impact of the urban environment on the health and behaviour of adults. It will add new programs of work with children and older adults.
With input from consumers, practitioners and policy-makers, a major focus of this applied research program will be undertaking research that can inform policy and practice to create urban environments that promote good health and well-being.