Date of Award

8-2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture

Major

Landscape Architecture

Major Professor

Ken McCown

Committee Members

John Malcolm McRay, Denise Renee Bates

Abstract

Studies have shown that the rising rate of adverse physical, social and mental conditions are tightly related to a lack of physical activity, poor eating habits, and the lack of social interaction. Unlike health problems centuries ago which were often caused by lethal diseases, the contemporary health problems in the United States relate to peoples' lifestyles and built environments. Vehicle-oriented community design has caused limited physical activity and unhealthful eating habits that increase obesity and other related health problems. Modern built environments often unintentionally discourage social interactions and present unintended obstacles to physical activities which causes social and mental health problems.

This thesis is an attempt to address some of the issues related to improving community design for better community health outcomes via a better design on the built environment. Specifically, this thesis is a case study in the Burlington neighborhood, a low income urban area in Knoxville, Tennessee. I test how design may the issues mentioned above. Following the WHO's definition of health, which is ``a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.'' This thesis therefore addresses the issue of human health by focusing upon two things. The first thing is to improve the physical health. This includes providing access for pedestrians and bicyclists, access to healthy food and places to exercise. The second focus is to improve social and mental health by providing recreation areas for socialization and refreshing mental health.

Unlike the traditional public health approach that relies upon medical interventions, this thesis posits the preventive efforts by utilizing spaces close to people's dwelling places.

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