Built Environment and Health

The United States and other developed, as well as developing countries are facing increasingly lethal and costly epidemics of acute and chronic diseases related to land use and built environment decisions. While hazards presented by air and water pollution are well recognized for acute, infectious, and toxicological illnesses, there is increasing recognition of hazards presented by building and community designs that fail to recognize human health. Land use and built environment decisions impact every age and social group, some disproportionately, with impacts ranging from the very acute (motor vehicle trauma) to the long term (obesity, cancer, heart disease). Such decisions should be based in solid science that considers not only health, but also economic, financial, insurance, housing, and other factors.

 

COEH maintains a strong research and education program on the health impacts of land use and the built environment. COEH Director Michael Jerrett is an expert in this field with projects on built environment topics related to active transport systems, greenspace exposure, and smart growth communities effects on physical activity, to name a few. COEH faculty member Yifang Zhu conducts natural experiments on how built environment changes affect air quality, such as the temporary closure of the 405-freeway, complete streets improvements, and the open streets program CicLAvia.

 

Member and Associate Projects

Jerrett(PI)
UCLA Sustainable Grand Challenges           
2015 –2018
Physical Activity and Sustainable Transport in Los Angeles.
Study seeks to evaluate the travel behaviors and physical activity changes that occur after the deployment of a bicycle sharing program at UCLA compared to a six month period before the program. The UCLA Transportation Department is also contributing to the study.  

 

Jerrett (PI), Seto (PI)                                                             
NIH
2011- 2014
Validating the Calfit Smartphone Sensor in Two Epidemiological Investigations.
To assess the validity, usability, and value of a novel cell phone-based personal exposure measurement system known as “CalFit” in two existing epidemiologic studies.

 

Pentz (PI-Contact), Jerrett (PI)                                                                      
NIH/University of Southern California
2009-2014
Effects of a Smart Growth Community on Prevention of Family Obesity Risk
This study will evaluate whether smart growth communities have the capacity to affect health, through improving physical activity for the purpose of preventing obesity.

 

Cole (PI), Jerrett (Co-I)                                                                                 
California High Speed Rail Authority           
2015-2016
Health Impact Assessment of the California High Speed Rail Project.