Built Environment, Human Energy Expenditure and Public Health (at HSPH)

At the completion of this course, students will have an understanding of different built environments and human energy expenditure in those environments. As two examples, parks provide mental and social benefits but many park users have low human energy expenditure (sports spectators, slow walkers, park bench sitters, etc.). In contrast to parks, bicyclists in bicycle environments have higher energy expenditure. During this course, measures such as Health Impact Assessments (HIA) and policies such as Complete Streets will be studied to assess whether high human energy expenditure was considered. Through the students' understanding of the built environment and human energy expenditure measures such as METs, students will understand the ways of translating information on obesity, physical activity, and health into practice effectively. The course is intended for undergraduate students, graduate students, and individuals interested in the design of the built environment. Those enrolled may be interested in environmental health, landscape architecture, park design, exercise physiology, public health, urban planning, government, engineering, METs, human energy expenditure measures, HIA, and walking and bicycling in all populations. The focus will be on creating urban forms with high human energy expenditure to lessen obesity, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer. This course is intended to fully address health and obesity reduction through the built environment in more ways than only recommending that individuals engage in physical activity.

Course Activities: Discussion, lectures, guest lectures, writing 3 three page double-spaced papers that culminate in one final paper that is a collection of the 3 papers, a design charrette, and delivering short presentations. Materials include readings, websites, webcams, and video clips.