Municipal Zoning Influences on Physical Activity

By Annemarie Franczyk.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research suggests neighborhood design influences residents’ physical activity. This study used a quasi-experimental design to compare physical activity of adult residents in two Lackawanna, N.Y., U.S.A. neighborhoods. The sites had differing built environments by virtue of classification under varying municipal zone designations, yet were closely alike demographically. 153 residents, roughly split between the sites, recorded their physical activity over two days. T-tests showed respondents from the neighborhood designed for greater density typically had at least one person with whom to pursue physical activity, while the less-dense neighborhood residents often sought physical activity alone (p < .01). Regression analyses revealed that older residents from the less-dense neighborhood typically participated in physical activity by themselves (p < .01). The level of density inherent in neighborhood design emerged as a significant influencer of physical activity.

Keywords: Municipal Zoning, Built Environments, Physical Activity, Neighborhoods

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.109-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 312.879KB).

Dr. Annemarie Franczyk

Assistant Professor, Communication Department, State University College at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA

Dr. Franczyk has been an award-winning journalist for 30 years, during which time she developed a special interest in researching and writing about matters that affect community health. She has a master’s degree in health administration and a doctoral degree in health policy, which contributed to her journalistic outlook by deepening her ability to analyze health-care issues. Her research on physical activity and municipal zoning reflects her professional and academic interests in health and a personal interest in urban planning. Dr. Franczyk teaches journalism, including courses that focus on health-care reporting, while maintaining a freelance-writing career.