NYC and AIA Launch Active Design Guidelines to Help Fight Obesity

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We saw yesterday that Greenpeace is using architecture as a method of activism. New York City is doing something similar, though using a different (and deliberately punny, on our behalf) use of the word “activism.” A group of city government agencies, from the Department of Design and Construction to the Office of Management and Budget, have teamed with the AIA in developing and releasing the Active Design Guidelines, a downloadable book intended for designers, architects, and city planners to help promote more physical activity among the citizenry in new and rehabbing building projects. The thinking goes is that cities used to use urban planning to fight off things like infectious diseases and crime, so why not return to that model in trying to curb obesity. Ambitious and idealistic, for sure, but certainly worth applauding and encouraging. Here’s a quick description:

The Active Design Guidelines provides architects and urban designers with a manual of strategies for creating healthier buildings, streets and urban spaces, based on the latest academic research and best practices in the field. The Guidelines includes:

Urban design strategies for creating neighborhoods, streets and outdoor spaces that encourage walking, bicycling and active transportation and recreation.

Building design strategies for promoting active living where we work, live and play — for example, through the placement and design of stairs, elevators and indoor and outdoor spaces.

Discussion of synergies between active design and sustainable design initiatives such as LEED and PlaNYC.

This follow’s NYC’s Street Design Manual last summer, which was also ambitious, idealistic, and equally as great.