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How can architects help the obesity epidemic in America?

Dec 8 '12 11 Last Comment
starrchitect
Dec 8, 12 11:14 pm

Anyone have any suggestions?

 

Znaika
Dec 9, 12 2:03 am

Long hallways

aphorismal
Dec 9, 12 2:46 am

Design fewer Wal-Marts

curtkram
Dec 9, 12 10:41 am

i think the obesity epidemic was caused by architects once we started putting 5' hallways everywhere and toilet stalls the size of small apartments.  once people's environments started getting so much bigger, they started getting so much bigger.  you don't see this phenomenon in countries that don't require 100sf toilets. 

the solution is to go back to building normal person scale cores in our buildings instead of huge person scale cores.

snook_dude
Dec 9, 12 11:51 am

We need to get rid of elevators and go back to the oirginal "Stair Master"

citizen
Dec 9, 12 12:20 pm

Snook is close. 

Stair location and general (as opposed to emergency) access to them is a big factor.  Remember taking the stairs up one or two flights on a regular basis?  This has been made all but impossible is so many buildings now.

So, changes to the building code (and its obstacles to providing open stairs between floors at lobbies, for example) and client/programming requirements (putting stairwells off limits unless we're on fire) are good places to start.

Peter NormandPeter Normand
Dec 9, 12 1:03 pm

Let’s build more Walkable neighborhoods. Try not to design suburban sprawl that is hostile to pedestrians.

One thing I notice in homes is that bedrooms are bigger and if they were small family members may need to use the common areas of the house and thus teenagers would go to the library or coffee shop rather than hibernating in their rooms chatting on line about how much they are embarrassed by their parents or loathe their siblings.

If you can make stairs in your buildings features that are interesting to use maybe more people would take them. Also there are some very interesting studies on color and how it impacts appetite.

It seems that most of our efforts in the built environment to combat obesity are in planning and zoning not so much in architecture.  Wide hallways have little to do with how fat people are it is the total calories consumed versus the total calories burned. Placing uses close together and making people walk to their cars a little may help, having densities that make it possible to walk to your appointments is probably the best thing.

If I were to win the lotto or be in charge of funding studies I would want to study the correlation to density, walking score, income and obesity. 

Another idea that designers may use is gardening, this hits two factors diet and exercise, how can you incorporate gardening into your architecture, window boxes full of lettuce and snow peas may be just as nice as one full of petunias.

citizen
Dec 9, 12 2:22 pm

Also: as parents, we can teach our kids to eat better and exercise more. 

Personal responsibility at the fork level seems to have been abandoned in favor of macro-level policy and regulatory solutions.  Certainly the shape of the built environment is important.  But the choice to skip the big bag of Cheetos is even more important.

Orhan AyyüceOrhan Ayyüce
Dec 9, 12 4:05 pm

Very easy. Have our iron clad ally Israel send their experts come in and set the calorie intake limits barely above the starvation level just like they do in Gaza. Problem solved!! Take cover for home made rockets made by freedom loving Americans flying over the towns though.

LITS4FormZ
Dec 9, 12 5:09 pm

Thom Mayne had already done this with elevators that stop every three floors. More buildings should do this...

oneLOSTarchitect
Dec 9, 12 7:32 pm

Americans are so lazy. I am American and I will say it myself. They want to leave their car door and be inside their work place, or house. Look at suburbia! People don't even engage with their neighbors anymore cause they just open their garage, roll in, and close. It is pathetic. I truely believe the ideas of New Urbanism is wonderful. Andres Duany is an intelligent human being, and I wish more architects/planners would listen to what he has to say.

b3tadine[sutures]
Dec 9, 12 8:04 pm

if morbid obesity had anything to do with laziness, then nearly entire planet would be fucked. a few of you are on to something, but many out there haven't a clue what they are talking about.

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