News Analysis

Architects Fight Obesity Epidemic Through "Active Design"

February 2, 2012

The Active Design Guidelines developed by New York City collect many of these design strategies—for cities, neighborhoods, and individual buildings—into a free reference guide. Baani Singh, Assoc. AIA, who is healthy LEED and green development coordinator at New York’s Center for Active Design, points to alarming rates of obesity: 40% of children and 60% of adults in New York are overweight or obese. Singh claims that since the City started focusing on healthy food and physical activity, her office has seen a reversal in childhood obesity trends. “All of this awareness is actually helping,” she says.

Active design features include some already-familiar sustainable design strategies, such as facilities for cyclists and access to public transit, as well as several emerging strategies not yet deeply encoded in sustainable design: