January 25, 2019

What Gets Measured Gets Managed — Design, Health & Public Policy, with Lawrence Frank

“Metaphorically-speaking, the clothes I put on fit me,” says Dr. Lawrence Frank, one of the most-published and highly-cited urban planners in the world.

Having started his career in landscape architecture, Dr. Frank’s 1985 thesis on transit mall design eventually led to a Masters of Civil Engineering Transportation Studies and a PhD in Urban Design and Planning, both from the University of Washington. Dr. Frank worked for the Washington State Department of Transportation and held faculty roles at Georgia Tech, but it was his research on the links between the design of cities, environmental impacts and population health — and the trove of data he found which helped make such connections known and understood — that was groundbreaking.

It was also comprised of a set of evolving concepts throughout the 1990s (“How the design of places affects behaviour and health, and health came later”), and over the past 25 years his work resulted in the publication of hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles and publicly and privately-funded projects on the subject, not to mention having influenced public policy shifts towards walkability, bike-ability and transit, and away from vehicular primacy.

Since 2002, Dr. Frank has held the role of Bombardier Chairholder and Professor in Sustainable Transport and the Director of the Health and Community Design Lab at the University of British Columbia, splitting his time between the Schools of Community and Regional Planning in the Faculty of Applied Science, and Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine. Dr. Frank is also President of Urban Design 4 Health, Inc., which develops evidence and tools to support healthy, sustainable and energy-secure transportation and land-use decision-making.

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What Gets Measured Gets Managed — Design, Health & Public Policy, with Lawrence Frank
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