Health and Smart Growth Are Related Issues

As perhaps the newest Smart Growth advocate in town, I wanted to introduce myself to the Crossroads readers.  My name is Ryan Champlin, and I am the new planner at the Community Action Committee.  I just recently graduated from the University of Utah with a Master of Science in Family Ecology, a not-so-aptly name for a degree that focuses on the intersections of sustainable urban planning and social issues.  As a new transplant to the Lehigh Valley, I have taken a special interest in my new environment, one that is especially significant for me because I am here without access to an automobile until my wife moves here in December.

My transportation situation, policy interests, and desire to write have combined to prompt me to start a blog: Bethlehem By Foot.  I have not done a particularly good job in sticking with issues that are specific to the Lehigh Valley, but I try to relate everything I discuss to either pedestrians in general or larger social, transportation, land use, and infrastructure policies.  The main point of the blog is to share my experiences as a pedestrian, raise issues that impact pedestrians, and generate discussion about larger policies that impact the way our cities grow.  I hope that my involvement with Crossroads will help me focus more on issues the especially impact the Lehigh Valley, and I hope my perspective can assist RenewLV in furthering their purpose for this blog.

When Steven Bliss, Executive Director of Renew, asked me to contribute to Crossroads, I took some time to think about what my unique contribution could be to the blog.  After becoming familiar with Renew’s focus on the interconnected issues of regional health and Smart Growth, I realized that my own academic and personal interest in the relationship between land-use and transportation design and human and environmental health would be something that Crossroads readers might also be interested in.  On my own blog, I spent an entire week writing a series about the obesity – design connection, so I thought I would begin my tenure on Crossroads by directing readers to this series.

My posts on Crossroads will be much less frequent than on my own blog, and I intend to make them much more research-based than my usual writings.  I not only want the information I present to be factual, but I also want the conclusions reached to be practically applicable.  This will be a challenge, but it is one that I look forward to.

Posted on August 29, 2009, in Health, Housing, Municipal Government, Neighborhoods, Transportation, Urbanism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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