URP 605– Built Environment and Health
Course No.: 19933
Department: Urban and Regional Planning
Semester: 2017 Fall
Location: Hayes Hall – 402
Meeting Day(s): Monday
Meeting Time: 3:00 PM - 5:40 PM
This graduate seminar focuses on the interactions between the built environment and human health including physical health, mental health, and social well-being. First shaped by socioeconomic, cultural, and political forces, the built environment then contributes to shaping the way people carry on activities related to everyday life, work, and play. People’s life styles therefore first contribute to form the built environment and then go on to be influenced by the built environment. Students will develop a conceptual understanding of the environmental determinants of health, and the utility and limits of planning in promoting health. Topics to be explored include: historical connections between planning and public health, physical activity and the built environment, obesity and the food environment, safety and stress, environmental contribution to mental health, health impact assessment, and planning tools for healthy communities. Students will discuss assigned readings each week. Discussions will be led and facilitated by peer discussants as well as the instructor. They will produce a 15-page paper and a short presentation on a topic of choice. Key objectives of this seminar are (1) to understand overall research trends; (2) to find the mechanisms by which the built environment has impacts on health behaviors/outcomes; (3) to become familiar with the literature covering, research methods, and current research gaps; and (4) to become familiar with approaches and methods to modify the built environment to enhance health.