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In future, our buildings will have to be more holistic and less about architects’ egos..
Our cities are damaging our health – that’s the conclusion of a new report by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) which looks at the impact of the built environment on obesity and life expectancy. It found that the urban conurbations with the healthiest populations, such as parts of Leeds and Bristol, had half the density of housing and a fifth more green spaces than the places where people were the most unfit, such as Liverpool (the highest rate of diabetes) and Birmingham (the lowest proportion of active adults).
The Department of Health recommends we take 150 minutes of exercise a week, but two out of three men and more than one in two women are overweight. How can architects and planners get us moving, if we ignore doctors and Department of Health warnings? The amount we walk has fallen by 27 per cent in the last 15 years, as we use cars and public transport to get around. The Riba report found that three out of four of us would walk more if there were more green spaces, places that were attractive and felt safe.