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Concepts Series 2

Date: May 2007
Category: Briefing Paper
Author: GCPH

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This review explores the evidence relating the impact of the urban physical environment at the neighbourhood level on health and wellbeing, levels of physical activity and obesity.

The briefing paper presents the findings of a critical literature review of studies exploring the impact of the urban physical environment on health and wellbeing, physical activity and obesity published since 1990. The paper outlines the systematic review methodology adopted and discusses the main findings and conclusions of the review. The paper highlights and presents key evidence identified in the review. This includes the impact of the neighbourhood environment on general health, mental health and neighbourhood safety, the characteristics of ‘walkable’ neighbourhoods, the impact and importance of urban greenspace on physical activity levels and the relationship between the built environment and levels of obesity. The review concludes by reinforcing the importance of investment in enhancing neighbourhood quality, safety and walkability in contributing to improved population health and wellbeing