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Lecture studies cities’ environments, health impacts

May 02, 2008

A city’s built environment includes man-made structures large and small, from city sidewalks, skyscrapers and public transportation systems to neighborhood streets, parks and individual homes. But how does this type of environment affect our physical health?

Billie Giles-Corti, a professor in the School of Population Health at the University of Western Australia, and director of the Centre for the Built Environment and Health, will present “Studying the Impact of the Built Environment on Walking:  Work in Progress From Perth, Western Australia” at the second William J. Stone lecture from 11 a.m. to noon, May 5, at ASU’s Polytechnic campus. She will address the benefits and perils of an urban lifestyle on day-to-day life.

Giles-Corti’s research focuses on the impact of urban design on health and physical activity, as well as on social ecological research. She recently won a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, which enabled her to travel to the United States to collaborate with researchers at Stanford.

On the Fulbright Commission’s Web site, she is quoted as saying, “There is a growing recognition of the link between the built environment and health, and the nexus between health and sustainability agendas. There also is an urgent need to consider the housing and urban design needs of older adults, given the aging population and the importance of active living, to protect and enhance health.”

The built environment lecture is free to the public and will be presented in room 113 in the Exercise & Wellness Building at ASU’s Polytechnic campus in southeast Mesa.

The Stone Lecture was initiated in 2007 to honor Stone’s retirement from a 40-year career at ASU. It is an annual lecture featuring an expert in health and physical activity promotion sponsored by the Department of Exercise and Wellness.