Healthy Urban Living and Aging in Place

Faculty; Public Health

A three-year research project aims to enhance the understanding of how built environment influences the physical activity of older adults in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Curitiba, Brazil.
Brown School professor Rodrigo Reis is leading an international, multi-disciplinary team of researchers drawn from the fields of public health, geography, planning and management, as well as a range of key stakeholders promoting this policy agenda in Brazil, the United Kingdom and around the world.
The research team is developing evidence for the improvement of physical activity and well-being of older adults in both cities. The project will also advance policy tools, with the overall aim of assisting active aging in place.

Like many of Reis’ other projects, the research focuses on:

  • Finding solutions that have been implemented in developing countries or low-income communities in developed countries
  • Informing policies to implement changes in cities
  • Advancing science toward livability in cities

“The challenges we face in the Unites States are influenced by local context, but they are also similar to other communities in the world,” he said, such as poor access to services, traffic congestion or air pollution. “The qualities faced in big cities are pretty much the same everywhere so the solutions can be found everywhere.”

“The Brown School has a very interesting role. By combining public health and social work, we are addressing the social determinants of health. The issues we are facing in St. Louis in low-income communities are the same issues that low-income cultures are facing in other developed countries, such as those in Europe.”