Barely 3 1/2 months after moving to the inner city from the suburbs, I am happy to report that I am 12 pound lighter than I was in April, despite the new plethora of dining options that are suddenly outside my door and my constitutional two pizzas a week with "the guys." Granted, the coming of spring has contributed to the dent in my waistline, but a few other factors have contributed to this. I am now walking to and from work just about everyday - even the rainy ones - and I get a few more walks in tending to the dry cleaning, groceries and even walking to the cinema as well. I now have four cinemas within a 45-minute walk, a far cry from the lone coffee shop that was within a 55 minute walk from my previous digs in the 'burbs. (I will not even attempt to count the coffee shops that are within 45 minutes of my door.)
So big deal, right? It would be obvious that living in a more walkable neighbourhood would help contribute to a healthier lifestyle and that car-reliant lifestyle in suburbia would eventually turn your T-shirt into a gut-sling.
Fritz Steiner, in an article titled "We Knew It Along" in Planning magazine, makes a direct link between the design of automobile dependent communities and the increase in obesity. It is a long overdue acknowledgment of the connection between the communities we live in and the habits that we form. Steiner goes on to add a few suggestions to create communities that will encourage more active living.
It all fits together...