The Built Environment and Health

Central Indiana has many wonderful qualities, but a year ago, our investment in the city’s built environment was looking bleak.  That has started changing, and Indianapolis has shared several bits of built environment good news recently. The term “built environment” refers to the built structures in communities and includes everything from sidewalks to trails to public transportation. The quality of a community’s built environment can severely impact public health.  

Children running outside

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “The built environment influences a person’s level of physical activity. For example, inaccessible or nonexistent sidewalks and bicycle or walking paths contribute to sedentary habits. These habits lead to poor health outcomes such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer.” 

Several recent good developments have been in the news that can positively impact the health of residents of Indianapolis and its surrounding counties.    

The built environment isn’t just about getting physical activity; the built environment includes things like public transportation, sidewalks, and trails because they also enable people to access resources they need for good health.  Public transportation infrastructure like the Red Line will allow people who live in food deserts to access healthy food options outside of their neighborhoods or travel to access health care.  

From the Red Line to the new Canal Playground, Indianapolis is seeing important progress in its built environment and that can help everyone be more physically active and lead healthier lives.  We at Jump IN encourage you to take advantage!