We are continuously investigating the relationship between the built environment and population health. Our findings can be used by policy makers and practitioners to create physical activity supportive environments that promote health and wellbeing. Find more information about our current research projects below.

Alberta's Tomorrow Project (ATP) Residential Relocation Study

The ATP Residential Relocation Study examines how residential relocation can impact a participant’s leisure and transportation walking habits. This project uses 2005-2018 data from the ATP, a province-wide longitudinal cohort study involving a random sample of adults with no personal history of cancer. We will estimate the effect of a change in neighbourhood walkability (moving to a higher or lower walkable neighbourhood) on walking habits. Secondly, the extent to which the researcher-defined geographical area of the neighbourhood impacts the estimated associations between changes in walkability and changes in transportation and recreational walking will also be assessed. This study will provide important causal evidence about the relationship between overall walkability and walking.

Pathways to Health

The Pathway’s to Health project aims to identify how the neighbourhood environment contributes to weight status of Canadian adults. The study uses a stratified random sample of Calgary neighbourhoods that vary by socioeconomic composition and built form to understand if neighborhood socioeconomic status, physical activity-related and food-related environments are associated with physical activity and dietary behaviour of residents.

Perceptions of Neighbourhood Walkability

During the past few decades, there has been increased research, practice and political interest in creating healthy, vibrant neighbourhoods. Despite interest from a broad range of stakeholders on this topic, the perspectives of real estate and community development professionals are often not represented. Using a qualitative research approach, this project will explore, compare, and contrast perceptions of “walkability”, “bike-ability”, “vibrancy”, “livability”, and “healthy” as they relate to neighbourhood design among urban residential Real Estate Professionals, current homebuyers, and developers. The goal of this project is to develop a standardized language to describe these concepts in order to enhance communications, expectations and public satisfaction around quality of life lived in urban settings. This project is made possible through a grant from the Alberta Real Estate Foundation. The AREF supports real estate related initiatives that enhance the industry and benefit the people of Alberta. Learn more about the AREF at

Urban Design and Health Natural Experiment

This natural experiment seeks to understand the extent to which the health of populations is immediately impacted by local government initiatives that modify neighbourhood design. Participants were sampled from two Calgary neighbourhoods undergoing major built-environment modifications as part of the City of Calgary’s “Main Streets” and “Livable Streets” initiatives. Health and social outcomes are compared before and after the changes to neighbourhood design are made. This study will provide a greater understanding of how self-reported neighbourhood-based physical activity patterns, health and fitness, social interaction, mental health and quality of life are affected by modifications to the neighborhood built environment.

Built Environment and Pedometer Intervention

This project investigates the degree to which socio-demographic, psychological, and perceived and built neighbourhood characteristics enable or hinder physical activity participation among inactive adults participating in the Alberta-based “UWALK” pedometer intervention. Changes in pedometer and self-reported physical activity outcomes, perceived walkability and psychological characteristics are measured during the first stage of the study. Qualitative semi-structured interviews are then used to capture the participant’s experiences and the personal and environmental barriers encountered when engaging in the "UWALK" intervention. This project will provide insight into how the neighbourhood built environment impacts the effectiveness of physical activity interventions as well as influences physical activity behaviour.

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