Although some might imagine that leaving a dense urban core for clean air and a green backyard is associated with better health, research shows people are healthier and happier in densely populated urban cities. Researchers from the University of Hong Kong and Oxford University studied the impact of density on 400,000 people in 22 British cities. The study found that the main reason residents in dense urban cores tend to be happier and healthier is that they have the opportunity to walk. In areas where suburban sprawl dominates, it is often the best solution to drive, leading to lower rates of exercise and higher rates of obesity. A more compact city is more walkable. The study supports Jane Jacob’s idea of a “sidewalk ballet” with safe streets and socially engaged citizens.
Source: Next City