Designing Healthy Neighborhoods Contributions of the Built Environment to Physical Activity in Detroit

Detroit is a city with low-density housing and a high proportion of lower-socioeconomic-status multiethnic residents. Physical activity tends to be lower in low- to moderate-income urban communities. To understand the design components of healthy neighborhoods, interrelationships between built environment characteristics and walking behavior were studied for three neighborhoods. Results suggest that as independent predictors, higher density and multiple land uses tended to deter walking. However, residents of neighborhoods with strong well-connected street networks (both locally and globally) reported higher levels of walking as compared to those in less well-connected neighborhoods.