The design of a neighborhood park often attracts people to physical activity by giving them a reason to spend more time outside. Just how the environment affects physical activity long ago captured the attention of Kevin Krizek, MArch, an associate professor of planning and director of the PhD program at University of Colorado Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning. Krizek’s work in this arena has now led him to win two national awards.
Krizek was the principal investigator on the Design for Health project, recently awarded the National Planning Excellence Award for Best Practices at the American Planning Association’s 2009 national conference in Minneapolis in April. Krizek was co-principal investigator of the project along with former colleagues from the University of Minnesota. The project looked at integrating active living into municipal planning through community design. The first phase of the project from 2006-08 created practice-oriented tools to help integrate human health into urban planning and environmental design in 19 partner communities in Minnesota. The second phase underway currently is focused on further tool development and public education.
“One of the College’s areas of prominence and distinction is the planning and design of healthy environments,” said Mark Gelernter, PhD, dean of CU Denver’s College of Architecture and Planning. “Kevin’s award-winning project is a sterling example of an innovation by a faculty member in this area.”
The Design for Health project was also one of seven exemplary projects in architecture, planning, landscape architecture, and urban design to have been named a winner of the 2009 Great Places Research Awards by the Environmental Design Research Association, Places journal, and Metropolis magazine.
“It is extremely gratifying to work on a project that really bridges the gap between the emerging research base on community design and the every day realities of local government planning,” said Krizek. “It’s not always an easy balance to strike but these two awards speak to the ability of the project to satisfy a variety of audiences. It is truly a great honor to see this work so valued and appreciated.”