Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Why New Yorkers Live Longer - Old Buildings!

from New York Magazine

http://nymag.com/news/features/35815/

Why New Yorkers Last Longer

This city, once known as a capital of vice and self-destruction, is now a capital of longevity. What happened?

“The more you drive, the more you weigh,” Frank tells me after I call him to talk about it. He was unsurprised when I described New York’s increases in life expectancy. “You put people in an environment where public transportation is rational and driving is almost impossible, and it would be shocking not to see this outcome,” he says. Other scientists suggest that New York’s benefits do not occur merely because the city is walkable. It’s also because New York is old and filled with attractive architecture and interesting street scenes—since, as it turns out, aesthetically pretty places lure people out of their homes and cars. A 2002 study by the National Institutes of Health found that people living in buildings built before 1973 were significantly more likely to walk one-mile distances than those living in areas with newer architecture—because their environments were less architecturally ugly.