News Brief

Study of Streetscape Features FInds Occupant Health Effects

Can the presence of porches and stoops affect people’s health? Numerous designers, researchers, and authors have explored the connection; Jane Jacobs famously wrote about the benefits of “eyes on the street” and the architectural features that support them. A team led by Scott Brown of the Miami Miller School of Medicine recently published research in

Environmental Health Perspectives that quantitatively examined the relationship between selected neighborhood features and physical health.

The team mapped seven features in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, then correlated those features with a two-year health assessment of 237 elderly residents. The researchers found that porches, stoops, and above-grade buildings are associated with better physical functioning because they promote walking, stair-climbing, and social interaction.

Window area, low-sill-height windows, and ground-floor parking were found to correlate negatively with physical functioning. Ground-floor parking blocks visual and physical connection between dwellings and the street. Larger window area and low sill height are negative factors, the researchers speculated, because they may drive residents to isolate themselves from public intrusion.

Published January 29, 2009

Wilmeth, M. (2009, January 29). Study of Streetscape Features FInds Occupant Health Effects. Retrieved from

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