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Exterior shot of a high rise apartment building in Sydney
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New study tackles high density health issues

30 April 2018
Building healthy cities
Potential planning measures to reduce heart disease, mental illness and Type 2 diabetes in residents living in highly urbanised environments will be explored in a new landmark study.

The study will be done by the University of Sydney in partnership with Landcom – the NSW government’s land and property development organisation – the University of NSW and the University of Technology (UTS), Sydney. Called Translating Evidence to Support Planning Strategies for Healthier, Higher Density Living, it aims to examine how future high-density developments can be planned with a focus on healthy living.

“The research is key to understanding how urban planning systems can effectively promote health,” said Dr Jennifer Kent from the School of Architecture, Design and Planning. Dr Kent is leading the study with Associate Professor Jason Prior from UTS.

“Green open spaces, networks for walking and cycling, as well as community spaces, are all integral to a happy and healthy lie. This study will help reveal the extent to which these elements are preserved in higher density development.”

You only need to look at the vast number of cranes across the city to realise high-density dwelling construction is at an all-time high.
Dr Jennifer Kent

The study will look at existing research and examine recent Landcom high-density developments, Green Square and Victoria Park. Issues such as heat from built-up areas, through to Type-2 diabetes, heart disease and depression will be explored, as will strategies to manage these health problems.

“You only need to look at the vast number of cranes across the city to realise high-density dwelling construction is at an all-time high,” said Dr Kent.

“We need to ensure these developments promote our health and wellbeing, now and into the future.”

The study is expected to take about two and a half years to complete. Findings will be progressively released through Landcom’s annual conference CoLab, which reports on the organisation’s research findings and learning activities.

The project is funded through Landcom’s University Roundtable Research Program, established in 2016.  The University Roundtable was created to champion multi-disciplinary and collaborative learning that focuses on complex urban challenges and innovation in planning for sustainable development.

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