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Built environment

In social science, the term built environment, or built world, refers to the human-made environment that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from buildings to parks. It has been defined as 'the human-made space in which people live, work, and recreate on a day-to-day basis.' In social science, the term built environment, or built world, refers to the human-made environment that provide the setting for human activity, ranging in scale from buildings to parks. It has been defined as 'the human-made space in which people live, work, and recreate on a day-to-day basis.' The 'built environment encompasses places and spaces created or modified by people including buildings, parks, and transportation systems.' In recent years, public health research has expanded the definition of 'built environment' to include healthy food access, community gardens, mental health, physical health, 'walkability', and 'bikeability'. Early concepts of built environment date to Classical Antiquity: Hippodamus of Miletos, known as the 'father of urban planning,' developed Greek cities from 498 BC to 408 BC that created order by using grid plans that mapped the city. These early city plans eventually gave way to the City Beautiful movement in the late 1800s and early 1900s, inspired by Daniel Hudson Burnham, a reformist for the Progressivism movement who actively promoted 'a reform of the landscape in tandem with political change.' The effort was in partnership with others who believed that beautifying American cities would improve the moral compass of the cities and encourage the upper class to spend their money in cities. This beautification process included parks and architectural design. By mid-century modernist 'indifferent' design influenced the character of work and public spaces, followed by what Alexander describes as a late twentieth century 'revival of interest relating to the concept of place (including the built environment), and its relevance to mental health and other fields of study.' Currently, built environments are typically used to describe the interdisciplinary field that addresses the design, construction, management, and use of these man-made surroundings as an interrelated whole as well as their relationship to human activities over time (rather than a particular element in isolation or at a single moment in time). The field is generally not regarded as a traditional profession or academic discipline in its own right, instead drawing upon areas such as economics, law, public policy, public health, management, geography, design, engineering, technology, and environmental sustainability. Within the field of public health, built environments are referred to as building or renovating areas in an effort to improve the community's well-being through construction of “aesthetically, health improved, and environmentally improved landscapes and living structures”. For example: community forest user group in Nepal is multidimensional institution, which serves goods and services to the communities through natural resource management (see Climate change adaptation in Nepal). Technology is playing a pivotal role in shaping the industries of today by augmenting processes, streamlining activities, and integrating innovations to propel the functioning of companies and organisations across a multitude of industries and help them achieve new heights. Building information modeling (BIM) is prominent practice. It involves illustration & pre-execution overview of physical and functional characteristics of places. BIM tools help the planner in making a future ready informed decision regarding a building or other built asset. Smart Building Management, Drone-based Surveying, 3D Printing, Intelligent Transportation System are recent implementation of technology in modern built environment. In public health, built environment refers to physical environments that are designed with health and wellness as integral parts of the communities. Research has indicated that the way neighbourhoods are created can affect both the physical activity and mental health of the communities’ residents. Studies have shown that built environments that were expressly designed to improve physical activity are linked to higher rates of physical activity, which in turn, positively affects health. Neighbourhoods with more walkability had lower rates of obesity as well as increased physical activity among its residents. They also had lower rates of depression, higher social capital, and less alcohol abuse. Walkability features in these neighbourhoods include safety, sidewalk construction, as well as destinations in which to walk. In addition, the perception of a walkable neighbourhood, one that is perceived to have good sidewalks and connectivity, is correlated with higher rates of physical activity. Assessments of walkability have been completed through the use of GIS programs, such as the Street Smart Walk Score. This example of a walkability assessment tool determines distances to grocery stores and other amenities, as well as connectivity and intersection frequency using specific addresses. Assessments such as the Street Smart Walk Score can be utilized by city and country planning departments to improve existing walkability of communities. To implement walkable neighbourhoods, community members and local leaders should focus on policy development. An effective framework that has been utilized in an abundance of communities is the Complete Streets concept of community planning that has been developed by the National Complete Streets Coalition (NCSC). NCSC states that the most successful policies are those that reflect input from a broad group of stakeholders, including transportation planners and engineers, elected officials, transit agencies, public health departments, and members of the community. According to Riggs, 2016, policies may focus on a “Complete Streets” investment, which includes sidewalk bulb-outs and refuges to reduce crossing distances or street widths for pedestrians. Other investments should include installing crosswalks, road markings, benches, shelters and sidewalk art installations. Every community will have a unique method of policy development depending on whether it is an urban, suburban, or rural community and how the policy will combine the variety of transportation modalities. Communities may choose to focus on walkability, but will also need to consider biking, wheeling/rolling, driving, and emergency vehicles. The NCSC policy workbook gives descriptive guidance on how to proceed with policy development whether they be council-driven, council-approved, directives, or citizen vote. When deciding how to proceed with walkability policy development, considerations should be made regarding current and past transportation policies, local community and government support, and how transportation policies have been implemented in the past.

[ "Ecology", "Civil engineering", "Regenerative design", "Walkability", "land use mix" ]
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